Co-evolutionary heritage reuse: A European multiple case study perspective

Karim van Knippenberg*, Beitske Boonstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Reusing heritage sites is no longer only a practice of maintaining the historic, built values of a heritage object, but increasingly also a practice of linking heritage buildings to other aims such as involving local (heritage) communities or integrating heritage in its urban context. However, working closely with local heritage communities and incorporating multiple aims and stakeholders–each with their own interests and understanding of heritage–makes projects of heritage reuse highly complex. To address and understand this complexity, various scholars argue for a co-evolutionary perspective that sees heritage as a manifestation of interrelated and interdependent processes. This paper translates the concept of co-evolution into a conceptual model for analysing practices of heritage reuse. We apply this model in sixteen selected European projects of heritage reuse, to analyse how and why co-evolution manifests itself in projects of heritage reuse. This analysis demonstrates that the actions of initiators and other actors in the heritage reuse projects, as well as the social/institutional system in which they operate, are conducive to whether or not a co-evolutionary heritage approach is enacted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Planning Studies
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2021

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