BHRC logoBuilt Heritage Research Collaborative (BHRC)

Built Heritage Research Collaborative (BHRC) aims to develop collaborative research projects and facilitate the exchange of knowledge between different built environment researchers and practitioners working on conservation and heritage related issues with a focus on Hong Kong and the Greater China and Asia-Pacific regions.


In recent years, heritage conservation has become a growing subject of concern across all built environment disciplines. Built heritage, including not only architectural monuments but also diverse types of buildings, former industrial sites, large-scale infrastructures and entire landscapes are being increasingly revitalized for new uses and inscribed with new values and significance. These developments highlight heritage conservation as a dynamic, future-oriented practice that will play a key role in guiding long-term planning of cities and regions and providing alternative models of sustainable development.

The growing emphasis on socio-cultural processes and value production in heritage conservation has been reflected in UNESCO’s incorporation of the concept of “cultural landscapes” in the World Heritage Convention, and more recently with the introduction of “historic urban landscape” as a framework to interpret, conserve and manage urban heritage. These emergent approaches to heritage acknowledge that all places are shaped by the complex interplay of culture and nature within larger social and ecological systems, thus bringing to the fore ideas of continuity and resilience as well as the agency of diverse communities.

A key objective of Built Heritage Research Collaborative (BHRC) is to promote interdisciplinary research on built heritage based on both holistic and specific understandings of the multiple and interrelated values of heritage assets. This understanding builds on recent scholarship that moves the focus away from evaluating individual heritage sites on the basis of their on-site and building properties, to the dynamic relationships between sites and their larger contexts, allowing a systematic identification of the layered histories and competing values inscribed to a place by different agents over time. By engaging with new challenges to heritage protection in the 21st century, BHRC members seek to generate theoretical and practical insights on conservation and develop policy initiatives on sustainable, long term conservation planning and heritage management.

Alignment with FoA’s Strategic Research Directions

The establishment of BHRC fits with the strategic directions of FoA in generating high quality, cross-departmental, interdisciplinary research on the built environment that addresses emergent environmental and societal challenges in the 21st century.

The goals of BHRC include:

  • To promote interdisciplinary research and create collaborative opportunities for the study of built heritage among faculty members of FoA and beyond, including those in architecture, landscape architecture, planning, urban design, real estate and construction, and other researchers and teachers across HKU’s faculties.
  • To facilitate knowledge exchange between researchers and practitioners in the public and private sectors, strongly engaging with heritage conservation practice in Hong Kong, Greater China and Asia-Pacific regions.
  • To facilitate the integration of teaching and research by enriching course materials with the research findings of BHRC members and those of its affiliated organizations.
  • To strengthen institutional connections with academic and professional organizations at the local, regional and international levels.

Research Clusters

  • Conservation planning and management
  • Design for future change
  • Heritage economics
  • Conservation science and technologies
  • Archaeological heritage
  • Critical heritage studies