Adaptive reuse of heritage buildings; a systematic literature review of success factors

Fatemeh Vafaie*, Hilde Remøy, Vincent Gruis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Whilst adaptive reuse is often applied with good outcomes, we are also faced with projects that have not achieved the desired results. There is little insight into why some projects succeed and others fail, or even what constitutes “success” at all – due in part to the intangibility of the word “success” and unsettled definitions and synonyms of “adaptive reuse. Accordingly, this paper seeks to answer the question: What are the factors that can be used to assess the success of heritage adaptive reuse projects? This study is framed as a systematic literature review of relevant articles published or in press. The methodology is based on using a PRISMA diagram to address a number of papers that are screened in each step of the diagram: identification, screening, eligibility and included. The literature review process started with 731 in the first step and ends with the final results of 72 papers. The results are classified into ten categories of success factors: architectural, structural, socio-cultural, economic, environmental, energy, authenticity, legal, management and functional factors. Together, these provide a comprehensive understanding of factors that affect the success of adaptive reuse as a strategy to regenerate heritage buildings. This insight facilitates adaptive reuse strategies for designers, architects and real estate developers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102926
JournalHabitat International
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Adaptive reuse
  • Decision making
  • Heritage building
  • Success factors


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