Going beyond good intentions for the sustainable conservation of built heritage: A systematic literature review

Joana Gonçalves*, Ricardo Mateus, José Dinis Silvestre, Ana Pereira Roders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
79 Downloads (Pure)


This research addresses the performance gap between intentions towards a sustainable conservation of built heritage and its actual implementation. Socio-psychological models of human behaviour, such as the theory of planned behaviour (TPB), have been studying this dissonance between intention and behaviour, and allow to recognise latent critical factors. This paper provides a systematic literature review of research publications on the intersection of the topics of human behaviour, heritage, and sustainability. It aims to analyse how the TPB has been used in the field of sustainable conservation of built heritage. The studies are categorised according to the type of heritage, main actors targeted, aims, and methodology. A total of 140 publications were analysed. The results show a recent field of research. In the domain of built heritage conservation, behaviour is commonly addressed as a synonym of performance, targeting the building itself. Most publications relating socio-psychological constructs of behaviour and heritage sustainability can be found in the tourism and hospitality field, focusing on tourists’ and residents’ behaviours. The review shows that practitioners are still absent from the literature. However, research addressing other stakeholders shows that the theoretical framework can play an important role in the implementation of sustainable conservation practices in the built heritage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9649
Number of pages28
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Behavioural intentions
  • Built environment
  • Conservation
  • Heritage
  • Sustainability


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