The identification and conservation of the heritage of public works still needed the definition of conceptual and strategic keys that would allow us to have a critical discourse capable of repositioning and giving content to a heritage whose specificity has generally been dissolved in the heritage of architecture, the industrial archaeology or cultural landscapes. In addition, and regardless of the consideration of other variables, the project was proposed in response to the idea that any strategy aimed at characterizing, recovering or enhancing the heritage of public works must pay special attention to three decisive problems: the problems derived from the scale of approximation to the heritage of public works (compared to the usual orientation that has circumscribed the protection and conservation of the heritage of civil engineering that focuses on bridges, dams, lighthouses or railway stations, the project focused on the analysis of public works on a territorial scale - road and railway infrastructures, canals, etc.), the problems derived from their functional rigidity (and it is that, with few exceptions, public works of historical interest keep in use and, consequently, deeply transformed) and the excessive weight given to the value of the age of these assets.
The aim of the project was to define and propose strategies that, considering the peculiarities of the Civil Engineering heritage, allowed for its correct (1) characterization, (2) recovery and (3) enhancement. According to Challenge 6, the research aimed to unify “application criteria, methodology and action protocols in heritage conservation”, define “techniques for its restoration” and establish “work methodologies aimed at formulating strategies for its future conservation”, focusing on a poorly maintained and especially vulnerable heritage. It also had an explicit social vocation as it aspired to spread the value of an emerging but little-known heritage and to contribute to the development of depressed territories affected by depopulation