Operationalising the HUL tools at building level: circular models of adaptive reuse

Deniz Ikiz Kaya, Nadia Pintossi, Lu Lu, Ana Pereira Roders

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Cultural heritage is a driver for sustainable development in cities. Adaptive reuse of historic buildings is instrumentalized to circularise the flows of energy, raw-materials, human and cultural capital, thus plays a significant role in the transition towards circular economy. The existing literature still regards urban heritage conservation, urban management, circular economy and urban sustainable development as different spheres of knowledge. The HUL Recommendation provides an interdisciplinary and holistic approach to integrate these spheres, along with a supplementary toolkit. However, its implementation is still sporadic, not fully aligned with the circular economy framework, and unframed in the adaptive reuse and regeneration policies and practices at local level.
The aim of this paper is thus to provide a framework to operationalize the HUL approach and tools at building level, bridging the gap between international policy documents, global and urban aspirations of promoting circular economy, and local practices of adaptive reuse at building scale. For this, the circular models of adaptive reuse in terms of governance, financial and business structures will be identified through a case study analysis of best practice. The Pakhuis de Zwijger case in Amsterdam is selected as a successful case of sustainable and circular processes of cultural heritage adaptive reuse. Workshops have been conducted with internal and external local stakeholders of Pakhuis as a focus group to formulate their governance model. Four levels of sustainable governance actors are distinguished, involving municipality, cultural institutions, Pakhuis and its users. Business canvas method was also adopted to map their circular business and financial models with the involvement of internal stakeholders. These innovative circular models have then been incorporated into the HUL toolkit.
In this context, this paper contributes to the operationalization of HUL tools at building level through the integration of circular models of adaptive reuse. The identification and assessment of innovative circular administrative, financial and business models of adaptive reuse incorporates circular economy strategies and tools into the HUL framework, which have not yet been applied in recent HUL initiatives and guidelines.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLDE Heritage Conference
Subtitle of host publicationOn Heritage and Sustainable Development Goals
EditorsUta Pottgiesser, Sandra Fatoric, Carola Hein, Erik de Maaker, Ana Pereira Roders
PublisherTU Delft Open
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-6366-356-4
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventHeritage and the Sustainable Development Goals: International LDE-Heritage conference - TU Delft, Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 26 Nov 201928 Nov 2019


ConferenceHeritage and the Sustainable Development Goals


  • adaptive reuse
  • cultural heritage
  • circularity
  • Historic urban landscape


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