National identity and economic initiatives. The US experience in the preservation of Civil War battlefields
The present article takes into account the activities and organization of the CWPT (Civil War Preservation Trust) as a model in fostering National identity by linking voluntary work and local economic initiatives. With more than 73,000 members, CWPT has helped to protect more than 21,000 acres of battlefield land in 19 States, supporting local communities in their quest to balance the benefits of preservation and development. The CWPT business model and structure - central support of legal and fiscal instruments, a web site and local private initiatives in fund raising - are examined along with the extraordinary results data of research commissioned by CWPT to Davidson Peterson Associates to understand in greater detail the follow up of this kind of cultural investment in terms of employment, tourist flows, etc.. The resulting data, together with information drawn from public records, provide the basis for extrapolating the economic impact of a Civil War battlefield on neighbouring communities. The goal of the article is to stimulate the reader and Italian public bodies to learn from the American lesson, to understand their know how and to try to adopt a similar project in Italy.
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