Evaluation of the social values and willingness to pay for conserving built heritage in Hong Kong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This study aims to evaluate the relationship between the major factors of social value and the willingness to pay amount for conserving a historic site, using Hong Kong as a case study of a dense urban city with immense tension between conservation and development. It also evaluates, in monetary terms, the social values, which are almost impossible to measure in built heritage conservation. Design/methodology/approach – It adopts evaluation ratings and the contingent valuation method to estimate Hong Kong citizens’ willingness to pay (WTP) for the conservation of the Central Police Station compound. Findings – The results of 256 surveys suggest that the extent to which the historic site can provide a “sense of place and identity”, “social inclusion” and “community participation” is positively correlated to the WTP amount. The respondents’ satisfaction with the new use of the site, their work location and education level affected the amount they were willing to contribute to the conservation project. The reasons given for not being willing to contribute were also analysed to provide insights for cultural heritage policy. Originality/value – The findings provide an enhanced understanding of the relationship between the major factors of social value and the WTP amount. This study proposes a partial tool to elicit the non-market value of heritage site which should be supplemented with experts’ evaluation to assist decision-making. It enhances public participation, particularly in the public–private partnership model of heritage conservation. Thus, it provides valuable insights for policymakers and planners to understand the public’s perception on the value of heritage conservation in cities facing immense redevelopment pressures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-98
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2015


  • Built heritage
  • Evaluation
  • Hong Kong
  • Social value
  • Urban
  • Willingness to pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction

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