Jobs and Business Opportunities

The glossary entries are the result of a collaborative process among OpenHeritage consortium partners and have undergone an internal review. However, they only express the perspective of the authors listed under each term, not of all partners. You can find information on the glossary production process and the full glossary here.

Joep de Roo
Eurodite, The Netherlands;

Alina Tomescu
Eurodite, The Netherlands;

Short definition

Adaptive heritage reuse projects contribute to creating jobs and business opportunities, by introducing new uses which combine commercial and societal activities.  By fostering, directly or indirectly, new job opportunities, adaptive reuse projects can catalyze wider social and economic improvements since they potentially cover a wide range of job typologies: from those related to readapt, repair and maintain heritage sites, to those related to culture, social services or tourism.

Community-led adaptive reuse projects face the challenge to improve the social and economic situation of marginalized communities, by developing their skills to help their integration into the labor market.

Key discussions around the term

As the Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe report (CHCfE Consortium, 2015, 21) shows, cultural heritage is a significant creator of jobs across Europe, covering a wide range of types of job and skill levels: from conservation-related construction, repair and maintenance through cultural tourism, to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, often in the creative industries. Adaptive heritage reuse shows the same potential, as research by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund highlights. In particular, this research shows how heritage-led regeneration, including the commercial and non-commercial adaptive reuse of heritage buildings, creates and sustains jobs by covering a wide range of types of jobs and skills. However, heritage-led regeneration risks feeding into processes of gentrification, commodification, and touristification. Another point of debate is the quality of the jobs created or the business opportunities that are opened up. What incomes and income security do they provide for the individuals? What do the working conditions look like? What kind of social significance and individual benefits come along with the products and services provided? Is the competition for these jobs and business opportunities mediated by a broader sense of collaboration within the community? This aspect highlights that the use of heritage to foster job and business opportunities could not be considered just in terms of its ‘positive’ impacts, as various publications show (e.g. Pendlebury et al., 2019; Scott et al., 2018; Veldpaus and Pendlebury, 2019). So, whilst adaptive reuse can create jobs and promote the development of SMEs, it is important to understand who benefits from these opportunities and if the projects hold together urban effects (improvement of the built environment) and economic effects (increase in property value) with those social-related.

Reference list

CHCfE Consortium (2015) Cultural heritage counts for Europe: full report. eds. Giraud-Labalte, Claire, Pugh, Katrina B., Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Sneška, et al. Krakow: International Culture Centre.

Pendlebury, John, Scott, Mark, Veldpaus, Loes, van der Toorn Vrijthoff, Wout, and Redmond, Declan (2019) ‘After the Crash: the conservation-planning assemblage in an era of austerity’. European Planning Studies, : 1–19.

Veldpaus, Loes, and Pendlebury, John (2019) ‘Heritage as a Vehicle for Development: The Case of Bigg Market, Newcastle upon Tyne’. Planning Practice & Research, 0(0): 1–15.

Historic England. 2020. “HERITAGE AND THE ECONOMY 2020”.