Heritage-led regeneration in the UK: Preserving historic values or masking commodification? A reflection on the case of King’s Cross, London

Dora Chatzi Rodopoulou

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

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Since the early 1990’s heritage-led regeneration has progressively become an important strategy for the revitalisation of urban areas. This
revitalisation though, albeit its positive financial outcome, is not without side-effects, especially when carried out by commercial developers in
the established socio-economic system. This paper explores how heritage-led regeneration fits in the 21st century plans for the physical, social and
economic restructuring of post-industrial historic megacities, like London. Drawing from the King’s Cross case, a contemporary project with high
heritage significance described as the biggest European inner city redevelopment, the paper will highlight the gains and losses of the process, in
terms of heritage preservation and resilience of historic, spatial and social values. The analysis of the background, decision-making process and
product of the King’s Cross scheme will inform the study’s conclusion. Finally, it will be argued that historic considerations play a subordinate
role in the formation of heritage-led regeneration strategy. Its impact is intertwined with the priorities of the established political and economic
system, which control predicaments between financial growth and social sustainability. This study complements previous findings and contributes
additional evidence on the evolving discourse on the nuanced effects of urban regeneration while informing future practice on similar cases.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHistory Urbanism Resilience
Subtitle of host publicationPlanning and Heritage
EditorsCarola Hein
PublisherDelft University of Technology
ISBN (Print)978-94-92516-02-2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2016
Event17th IPHS Conference History-Urbanism-Resilience - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 17 Jul 201621 Jul 2016

Publication series

NameInternational Planning History Society Proceedings
ISSN (Print)2468-6948
ISSN (Electronic)2468-6956


Conference17th IPHS Conference History-Urbanism-Resilience
Internet address


  • Heritage-led regeneration
  • King’s Cross
  • industrial heritage
  • urban regeneration
  • London


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