Behavioural Decision-Making in Sustainable Conservation of Built Heritage

Joana Gonçalves, Ricardo Mateus, José Dinis Silvestre, A. Pereira Roders

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

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The role of heritage buildings in pursuing a more sustainable built environment has been widely discussed in the last decades, from their importance to cohesive and inclusive communities to their contribution to resources conservation and therefore to reducing materials-related carbon emissions. Norms, policies, standards, and design-aid tools have been developed to encourage urban conservation, but a question persists: why are best practices not yet widely implemented? Decision-making processes have an intrinsic behavioural dimension. Decisions are influenced not only by conscious and rational factors related to heritage buildings and their adaptive reuse, but also by a conjugation of social, psychological, and emotional factors related to the designer. This research uses the “Theory of Planned Behaviour” to analyse architects’ design decisions and reveal the common beliefs, challenges, and opportunities in the conservation of heritage buildings. The results show that while responsibility for the failure in the implementation of conservation is often attributed to third parties, individual attitudes and personal beliefs strongly correlate to the adopted behaviours and, thus, need to be targeted for effective change. Understanding the behavioural dimension of the decision-making process in the adaptive reuse of built heritage is essential to maximize the effect of tools and policies that support actual change toward the growth of a circular economy and a more sustainable future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBuilt Heritage Sustainable Reuse
Subtitle of host publicationApproaches, Methodologies and Practices
EditorsHumberto Varum, Teresa Cunha Ferreira
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-26749-9
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Heritage
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable conservation
  • Behavioural decision-making


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