Handbook of Cultural and Heritage Management


6.3. Criteria for evaluation

Each management plan has to begin with the description of the asset to be managed or of the event to be organized; all its special features have to be described in order to enhance its uniqueness and stress the necessity for its preservation/ protection/existence. Thus a sense of ownership is stressed between the asset/event and the community, be it the local, national or international one (depending on the importance of the monument as expression of human values). ( De la Torre 1997;  Jokilehto, J. 2008).

The final selection and structure of criteria depends also on the final usage for the plan. If, for example, an asset is intended for inclusion of the monument/site in UNESCO’s Word Heritage List or any other international protection authority, specific guidelines have to be followed, in order to meet the criteria of universal human values. If, on the other hand, the management plan will be used for local implementation, the sense of ownership by the local communities is of vital importance. Similarly, if an event is related to a wider umbrella (e.g. the institution of Cultural Capitals, an international festival etc), the guidelines of these institutions have to be respected, whereas if it is mainly intended as a local cultural event with the aim to attract visitors as well, it is essential to guarantee a minimum consensus regarding its features and character.


1. Assessing cultural and heritage assets


What are the values of cultural heritage? Which heritage asset among local heritage asset to promote? Why cultural heritage is important?


Assessment is a key term in heritage management and helps find answers to all this questions and many more.  Although often assessment and evaluation are used interchangeably, they often stand for different processes which altogether determine the course of action for heritage projects. One comes across terms such as museum evaluation, heritage impact assessment, value assessment, disaster risk assessment, heritage character evaluation. Similarly, in cultural projects assessment affects a series of factors such as: location, duration, potential for growth, risk factors.


For the purposes of this textbook, in this chapter the focus is centred on the assessment of heritage assets. Value assessment is a process where the values of a heritage asset are recorded and its significance is measured. Heritage assets are imbued with multiple values and their significance varies through space and time.  Recording and mapping the significance and character of cultural heritage is an important step towards its efficient management and successful promotion.


Steps of value assessment

●       Inventories of Heritage Assets

●       Mapping of Values of Heritage Assets

●       Include value assessment data in planning


These processes apply for both tangible and intangible cultural resources. As for tangible heritage, it is applied by and large on heritage sites and monuments.


Types of Values

Heritage assets carry meaning and values which play significant role in decision making with respect to protection, conservation, presentation, restoration, interpretation, promotion issues etc. A heritage asset does not necessarily carry all values presented below

Aesthetic, Natural, Local, Archaeological, Historical, Natural, Economic, Touristic, Educational, Symbolic, Global, National, Political 


The table below contains the diverse types of values an asset carries along with the justification. This table can be copied and used each time you need to assess similar values in your own projects.


Cultural Asset:






























Let’s use this table for a tangible example, namely the Parthenon at the Acropolis of Athens

Cultural Asset:




A magnificent combination of classical architecture and classical sculpture


An exemplary type of Doric peripteral temple


Unique for the use of optical refinement of its columns.


Its metopes and friezes were decorated by the famous sculptor Pheidias


A symbol of the economic supremacy of Athens and a major source of income for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.


The sculpted decoration is an open book on Greek mythology, Athenian social order and religious rites. 


A UNESCO world heritage site  due to its archaeological and  artistic values as well as of its role as symbol of the Athenian democracy.


The Parthenon was the symbol of Athenian hegemony over its allies as well as the result of the collaboration of great personalities of its time (the politician Pericles, the architects Ictinus and Kallikrates, the sculptor Pheidias etc)


An eternal branding element of the city of Athens. It is the only ancient monument known by almost all Greeks.


A reason for the long-standing controversy between Greece and the UK, due to the illegal demise and export of part of the sculpted decoration of the monument by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century.


An eternal place of worship due to its transformation into a church and a mosque.


Its existence reminds of the past glory of Greek civilization and creates pride among Greeks everywhere.


The monument attracts millions of tourists each year; it is, in fact, THE one monument that all visitors of Athens will aim at visiting.




Who can perform this task?

A panel of experts is needed for defining the values of the heritage asset(s). Minimum requirements: historian, archaeologist/art historian, social anthropologist, heritage manager, architect, geologist, topographer. In case of events, social anthropologists, historians and at historians are useful, but also art experts and perhaps producers/managers of artistic events are also needed.


1.      Historic, archaeological and ethnographic study (for heritage assets)


Following the above analysis of values, it is made clear that a heritage monument/site management plan has to be based on a historic, archaeological and ethnographic study, which will demonstrate its importance, its role and function both in the era in which it was created and in the present. Therefore, this study has to be accompanied also by a context analysis, taking in consideration the historic and cultural environment in the heritage asset’s prime time as well as the features, needs and expectations of the present-day surrounding community. Examining this will lead us to the mapping of the collective memory and identity, which is a basic factor for answering the question “For whom do we preserve?”. The environmental and built context of the asset as well as the intangible heritage of the region have also to be defined and analyzed, as the asset in consideration will have to be examined in joint perspective with the rest of the cultural assets of a region.

Aspects from which a heritage asset has to be examined:

1.      Archaeological, historic and anthropological/ethnographic. Only through such a detailed study can the value of a heritage asset throughout time be fully demonstrated. The role that this asset (be it a monument or a site) has played in a specific period in time constitutes it a testimony for a historic moment of the past and cannot be reconstructed unless such testimonies are examined. Therefore on has to examine the asset within its historic and artistic context, i.e. in relation to the social and cultural features of a time which gave rise to the asset’s construction or emergence. On the other hand, research has to take in consideration also the surrounding community of today, clarifying aspects of its relation to the asset. Identifying collective memory and establishing identity are issues which are usually related to material heritage and which often answer the question: Whom do we protect heritage assets for?

2.      The asset has to be examined in relation to its broader natural and human-induced environment such as buildings and human creations constituting the broader cultural heritage of the region. Therefore a brief listing and assessment of these assets has to be included in the management plan as well.

3.      Finally, an inspection of the relation with intangible heritage of the region has to be carried out. Traditional crafts and professions, forms of folk art, local dialects and idioms, customs and social practices, festivities and rituals, gastronomy and all kinds of practices revealing the relation of people to the world and has been accumulated in the course of time constitute elements and the cultural endowment of a social group or of an entire nation which are worth preserving and enhancing, not as mere “re-enactment” for touristic purposes but as vivid, alie and renewable social aspects. In Greece, for example, such forms of intangible heritage are folk dances and songs (such as the acknowledged tsakonikos dance and the polyphonic songs of Epirus), traditional feasts, such as this of Syrrako, the sacred forests of Epirus (in the Konitsa and Zagori regions), the shadow theatre (Karagöz), traditional artisanal activities (marble-sculpture in Tinos island or building wooden ships). Recording this intangible cultural heritage could be related to the cultural heritage asset and to sustain its valorisation as needing special protection.


Who can perform this task?

Experts from the following fields: historians, archaeologists/art historians, social anthropologists, sociologists, ethnographers.



2.      Description of the heritage asset or cultural event


Following the above two studies, a report has to be drafted including the detailed description of the asset itself (extent, style, structure, construction materials, geomorphology and flora/fauna, content/exhibits etc), as well as of its immediate surrounding environment and its buffer zone. Similarly, for the organization of an event, one has to envisage and write down in detail all the activities that will take pace, the people/specialties who will implement them, any possible side-activities, previsions for extra-curricular/spontaneous events, the time frame within which all this will have to be accomplished etc.


Who can perform this task?

Based on the reports of the aforementioned specialties for  the two first stages, the description of heritage assets will have to be completed by an architect/civil engineer, in collaboration with a topographer and –possibly, for historic landscapes- a geologist, a museographer (if the asset functions/will function as a museum), an archivist (if the asset functions/will function as an archive or library) and an art historian (if the asset contains artistic elements or collections of art). The description of events, on the other hand, will have to be accomplished by the organizing authority with the aid of artists, art managers, event organizers etc.


3.      Evaluation of the state-of-the-art

In order to assess the kinds and extent of interventions that will be needed for the effective preservation and further management of the heritage asset or for securing a successful event organization, a detailed evaluation of the existing conditions (state of the art) will have to be accomplished: 

1.      It is essential to assess the preservation state of the heritage asset under consideration, in order to estimate also the future interventions that will need to be undertaken. Therefore, one has to examine:

a.      Ground-technical characteristics (related to the foundations of the buildings, the stability of the ground, the water drainage etc)

b.      Accessibility through roads/pathways and the possibility of creation of new access ways or improving the existing infrastructure.

c.       The state-of-the-art of the building and particularly its structural parts, the investigation of interventions which occurred throughout its history and which may affect its stability or preservation etc.

d.      Construction materials and their state of preservation.

e.      Infrastructure (water supply, drainage, sewage, electricity, heating systems, telecommunications etc).

f.        Potential for change of use respecting, however, the historic fabric of the monument.

g.      Many of the above considerations have to be made for event organization, as careful evaluation of their settings (usually taking place within historic buildings or sites) is the first step towards security and the creation of the right ambience.

2.      In conjunction with the preservation of the monument itself, one has to study also the surroundings, which will also possibly have to be preserved and transformed in order to better enhance the heritage asset. In this respect, vegetation may have to be reduced, signs/light constructions and other visible hindrances may have to be removed, pathways and roads may have to be opened or improved etc. On a second level and depending on our commitment to authenticity, one may also want to bring the natural environment (flora) to a previous stage with endemic plants, tracing pre-existing paths, enhancing geological formations etc. Elements that also  have to be checked are:

a.      Visibility of the monument from many different angles.

b.      Elements which degrade the character of the monument (i.e. advertising signs, wires and cables running externally, antennas, boilers situated on the terraces etc), which will have to  be removed.

c.       Annexes, extensions and additional constructions which do not comply with the architectural style of the building/monument and which can be substituted (if absolutely necessary) with more appropriate constructions in terms of style and material.

3.      Cultural and heritage assets or events should not be handled as if they were detached from their social environment. Their protection, enhancement and touristic exploitation is part of the social life of a region and therefore the local communities should not only condescend but also be part of the process. It would be, therefore, useful to perform some public opinion research and to investigate the potential “stakeholders” and their role in the management of the heritage asset. Bear in mind that consensus is needed if the management plan is to be implemented, because dissent may cause delays and insurmountable hindrances. The financial status, the social canvas, the origins of the inhabitants, their educational level, all form aspects of this analysis. Yet, it has to be noted that in some cases some awareness-raising events may have to take place prior to the consultation, so that people really and fully understand what is at stake with any given heritage asset or cultural event.


Who can perform the task?

The state of preservation is assessed by a team of technical experts, such as architects and engineers, conservators, material scientists, technical engineers etc. The assessment of the surroundings and the environment asks for the contribution of geologists, biologists, environmentalists etc. Finally, the assessment of the human environment necessitates the participation in the team of experts from the humanities and social studies as well as statisticians to build the public opinion research model. Experienced heritage managers can fulfil many parts of this latter research.



4.      Legal aspects (managing authorities, conflicts, permissions etc)


Before starting working on a site or monument management plan one has to define or resolve some legal issues related to land usage, property, managing authorities etc. If these issues are not resolved, management plans often never reach the stage of implementation.

•        Land usage: In most countries the state authorities draft town-planning and spatial planning regulations which define the various kinds of land usage and mark specific zones depending on their features. There are for example zones for domestic purposes only, mixed-usage zones, industrial zones, archaeological zones, forest zones, natural reserves etc. Monuments and sites are often situated within archaeological zones, which are divided in two types: zones of primary importance, where no building activity can take place (unless for the enhancement or restoration purposes and only following specific permissions) and buffer zones, where building activity or other activities can take place under specific conditions and restrictions. A management plan of a site or monument has to take in consideration these zones and possibly suggest alterations or enlargement of these zones.

•        Investigation on authorities which are involved in the management of the heritage asset. Quite often there are more authorities involved (ministries, local authorities, religious authorities, private owners, forest departments, sea-port authorities etc). Before even starting on the management plan these authorities have o be defined and addressed, in order to get permissions and also in order to make them pledge that the management plan will be followed. 

•        In case of events, apart from the investigation of the authorities which manage the place where the event is going to be held, one has also to examine very carefully copyrights issues (for example for a musical event perhaps copyright fees will have to be paid to composers etc)

Who can perform this task?

In most legal cases legal experts with contribution from other fields. In some cases it is better to address the legal consultants or the representatives of the authorities involved.


5.      Risk factors assessment


All projects involve risks; a careful assessment of the risk factors in each case guarantee the smooth development of the project and the meeting of deadlines and budget.

Risk Factors for Tangible Heritage

Risc Factors for Heritage Sites and Buildings

Stovel (1998) gives an account of several risk factors affecting historic buildings and sites; within the past twenty years from his publication there has been considerable effort among experts (on a national and international level) to group and deal with risk factors (both natural and human-induced).

Natural and environmental risk factors

A.      Geological factors

●       Earthquakes

●       Landslides and corrosion of the earth

According to Lourenço (2007), seismicity and land corrosion have to be taken in account when planning conservation and restoration. Protection against seismic activity is necessary and one has to take in consideration the cracks, the cohesion of materials, the corrosion of the foundations and the state of the ground. In Italy the Istituto Superiore Centrale di Restauro (ISCR) has prepared a risk map of seismicity (online: http://www.cartadelrischio.it/,  28/8/2016)

B.      Hydro-meteorological factors

●       Floods (including subterranean water levels, often affecting archaeological sites)

●       Tsunamis

●       Sand-storms

●       Hurricanes

●       Storms

●       Ice and extreme temperature differences leading to corrosion of materials.

Of the aforementioned phenomena only floods can be previewed and partly prevented, particularly if they are due to the rise of subterranean water levels, in which case systematic drainage can be the solution. To a lesser extent, corrosion due to difference in temperature can be also partly prevented by special emulsions covering or smoothing the surface structure.

C.      Fire

Fires become more and more an uncontrollable threat for nature and historic places alike, particularly in the south of Europe. Several examples prove the necessity for drafting plans for the organized and orchestrated prevention and action against fire. However, there is a constant scientific interest and research and many publications have already appeared offering some insight and practical advice ( Stovel 1998).

Human-induced dangers

Monuments, sites and historic buildings are caused also by human actions, either directly or indirectly. In some cases, human activity is combined with hydro-meteorological dangers, as in the case of atmospheric pollution, as gases and harmful dust covers the outer surfaces and causes oxidation or other infections on the building materials. Acid rain, for example, has caused severe problems to monuments and buildings in central Europe, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s. Human mistakes or lack of maintenance can also cause severe problems to heritage assets, as was the case of the collapse of the cover in the archaeological site of Akrotiri, Thira, in 2005. There are, however, also deliberate human actions which lead to the destruction of heritage, such as the explosion of the giant sculptures of Buddha in Bamyan, Afghanistan, the demolition of the Mostar Bridge in Bosnia or the recent explosion and destruction of monuments in Syria by ISIS. For cases like that was founded, in 1996, the International Committee of the Blue Shield, similar in philosophy to the UN’s Blue Helmet service but for saving monuments (www.ancbs.org). The committee consists of organizations which function under the auspices of the United Nations. 

There are, however, even destructive actions of a small scale, like the demolition of non-declared monuments or their abandonment until their final collapse, or even some small-scale terrorist actions (like throwing Molotov bombs). These latter cases require a plan of civil protection and re cases where bureaucracy, which usually causes the delay in declaration or protection, could be circumvented with community action and raising public awareness. Therefore, municipal councils should always induce public consultations for the fate of such buildings in the neighbourhoods and ask for people’s ideas, contribution and help to prevent destruction (which in some cases can be harmful to people as well).


Risk Factors for Intangible Heritage

Intangible heritage is in a way much more fragile than tangible, yet its risks are often more difficult to perceive, foresee and prevent. Socio-economic and demographic changes definitely affect some elements at least of Intangible heritage. The use of technology disrupts traditional methods and techniques in modes of production, handcrafts etc. Tourism, particularly in its mass form, may destroy authenticity, as in many cases rites, customs, traditional music etc become mere re-enactments for touristic purposes.  In general globalization constitutes a major threat for Intangible Heritage.

Risk Factors for Cultural Events

When assessing risk factors for cultural events one should first examine the location and premises in order to see if there are dangers that may affect the visitors and people who are going to attend the event. Similarly, all the equipment used during the event has to be tested in advance in order to avoid critical failures which may affect the event. It is advisable to hire insurance companies to insure the premises and estimate liabilities. Another risk factor is the economic one: a cultural event might prove much less successful and financially  viable as previewed.  Unfortunately this is difficult to foresee, as sometimes irrelevant factors, such as the simultaneous occurrence of other cultural events, may affect the flow of visitors. However, a good publicity campaign can contribute to eliminate this risk.

6.       Conservation and restoration studies


This is probably the most difficult and expensive task that has to be performed when preparing a management plan. It requires a panel of experts who will have to collaborate closely. In many EU countries there are specific regulations on the authorities which have to contribute with experts in order for the report to be valid and have permission to be implemented. The standard procedure involves:

●       Examination of the state of the heritage asset (or the premises where the event is to take place) for its static condition, the resistance of its building materials, the weather conditions which affect its deterioration etc. In case where material analysis is needed this has to be done with non-destructive methods, following modern protocols.

●       Report on the proposed methods of conservation and decisions upon the possible restoration. The two are not identical, as conservation refers to the preservation of the monument in its existing form and consolidation for the future, whereas restoration refers to replacement of missing parts, aesthetic interventions etc. This has to be followed by a preventive conservation report, i.e. an additional study on the environmental factors which may affect the heritage asset and the methods to protect it against them.  The reports have to include also a budget for each category of expenses (see below).

The following phases will have to be included in the report and conservation research study: 

1.      Careful depiction, documentation and pinpointing of the site:

a.      land plots and open grounds have to be depicted and exactly located within a state-controlled coordinates’ system;

b.      buildings have to be architecturally documented from all sides (top-plans, facades, architectural details etc)

2.      Recording of the state-of-the art of the monument and its damages. A checklist will facilitate our work and should include:

●       Detailed plans depicting the damages;

●       Engineers’ report;

●       Conservators’ report on the state of the sculpted or painted decoration of the monument (or even stressing the need for further research in order to investigate whether there is painted decoration underneath layers of stucco or paint); a colour identification study is necessary in the case of modern monuments on both the interior and the exterior walls.

●       Detailed technical description followed by exhaustive photographic documentation;

●       Various investigation phases recording the preservation condition of materials (stones, bricks, timber etc);

●       Study for the appropriate way and the degree of intervention (preventive conservation or restoration), in order to secure a long-term protection from various factors;

●       Study for the conservation or transformation of the surroundings;

●       Budgeting of each one of the aforementioned studies  (Feilden, B.M.2007. De la Torre, 2002;. Clark, K. 2002).

Some of these stages are previewed in the legislation. In Greece, for example, derelict buildings and monuments dated later than 1453 a five-members’ committee has to be organized, presided by the Minister of Culture; this committee will have to examine the building and propose measures of remedying the situation. In case the state of the building is not  reversible, the committee may decide its demolition.

In any case, risk-preparedness seems to be becoming a crucial issue in heritage-related legislation with handbooks being edited almost on a yearly basis by competent organizations (ICCROM, 2016)



Who can perform this task?

Architects, Engineers, Firemen, Material scientists, environmentalists, conservators. Contribution by Municipal and State authorities is also necessary (Forestry departments, Environment departments etc). 


7.      Accessibility (including Special Needs’ accessibility)

Accessibility is a key issue in Heritage Sites as well as in Cultural Events. There are two basic kinds of accessibility: Accessibility TO the site and Accessibility WITHIN the site.

Accessibility TO the site

Many sites are located in rather isolated, difficult to access areas, with insufficient or perplexing –often- signposting. Taking care of the good condition of roads and pathways, creating parking spaces which can accommodate the visitors’ needs or taking care of visitors’ transportation by other media (e.g. mini vans, cable car etc) can increase the number of visitors and encourage more people to attend cultural events. Furthermore, carefully installing road signs in a thoughtful manner (e.g. on dubious spots, crossroads, detours etc) and effective mapping, including the exploitation of modern, technologically advanced  media such as GIS, mobile apps etc, increase accessibility and numbers of visitors accordingly ( CHARTS project http://www.charts-interreg4c.eu/project/).


Accessibility WITHIN the site

More difficulties appear when addressing issues of accessibility within a heritage site, since there one has to take account issues regarding people with special needs. Defining zones of safe circulation (both for the site and for the visitors is one issue, which needs to be taken care of by a team of experts), pointing out itineraries within the site, arranging for emergency exits are some only of the issues that need to be taken care of.

Things tend to be even more complicated with Accessibility for people with special needs. It is true that from the year 2000 onwards there is a considerable effort to accommodate the needs of these people. In 2003, which was proclaimed European Year of People with Disabilities [Eurobarometer: http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/archives/ebs/ebs_198.pdf], the council of Ministries of Culture within the EU voted a decree for the improvement of accessibility in buildings and sites of cultural importance for people with Disabilities. This generated a series of pilot projects, studies and conferences, which were accomplished or presented within the next two years (i.e. 2004-2005).  When regulating interior arrangements and ways of presentation of material in order to accommodate people with disabilities, one has to bear in mind that there are various kinds of disabilities. Most commonly we have in mind elderly people and people in wheelchairs, for whom:

•        There must be specially designated parking spaces in the parking lot, allowing easy access to the heritage/cultural site.

•        There must be a ramp at least 1.5 meters wide on all spots that need to facilitate access within the site/building, particularly at the entrance and at places where there are steps. For moving between storeys a specially designed elevator could be more efficient.

•        There must be proper lighting within the site/building and all points which might cause a problem (doors, obstacles, flights of stairs etc) should be highlighted.

•        There must be specially designed bathroom facilities.

For people with sight problems,

•        There should be signs in Breil system and perhaps more advanced solutions, which can enable visitors not only to get informed but also enjoy the exhibits. Such methods are usually based on haptics, a version of virtual reality.

•        The personnel should have undergone training in order to   be able to help people with special needs and to offer them necessary information on the way in which they can move and be guided around the  heritage asset.

•        Finally, on the internet site of the heritage site there should be information on the guiding facilities of people with special needs.


Who can perform this task?

Accessibility study for people with special needs should be performed by a team of architects and museum study specialists including a social worker or educator specialized in people with special needs.


8.      Enhancement and Soft Interventions


1.      Tracing itineraries of touristic and cultural interest


A.  Itineraries within the site/monument of interest


One of the most important aspects in a management plan is spatial and landscape planning. This planning should aim at helping visitors acquire the best possible experience of the heritage asset or the cultural activities organized on the site. Tracing itineraries within the area to be visited as well as in the surrounding region is an important step in this direction. Indicating to people where to go and what to see lifts a great burden off their shoulders, as visitors may have trouble getting to the sightseeing spots or they may miss important aspects of the sightseeing. However, tracing these itineraries should follow specific criteria such as: a) the space available and allowed by law (particularly when tracing itineraries within archaeological sites or historical landscapes); remember that overcrowding is another undesired effect of tourism.  b) the spatial interrelation of monuments and sightseeing spots (sometimes this is enabled by excavation marks etc), c) the historic interrelation of monuments and sightseeing spots, d) the safety of visitors (particularly important in cases of areas where cultural events take place, in which case safety escapes and exits are essential), e) highlighting different things within the area to be visited (sightseeing spots, recreation areas, public facilities, rest areas etc).

Heritage and tourism studies over the past  decades have  led us to realize that itineraries’ and routes’ tracing has to be made in an integrated way, in order to achieve a double goal: a) to serve the needs of different types and categories of visitors and b) to enhance various aspects of the broader region in an emblematic way.

B.  Cultural Routes

Routes and itineraries facilitate touristic development; however, they should be traced having in mind the precept of sustainability.  Therefore in our days have seen the light the “cultural routes”, which constitute brands on their own. They aim at attracting more visitors and opening up to new audiences, at enlarging the touristic period through thematic and experiential events and at kindling local entrepreneurship and economy. Cultural routes focus on historic monuments and sites as traces of specific historic events or personalities. Therefore these tokens of the past should be well-preserved, open to visitors, well-connected through sign-posted roads or paths and provided with touristic services (hotel/ hostels, local products’ manufactures, restaurants etc). Information should be provided on selected spots on the route (or digitally, i.e. via mobile apps throughout the route). Creation of maps where these routes are highlighted is an essential step. Hosting these maps on open source facilities, such as Google maps, is very helpful as visitors can better plan their itinerary. A good example of how to trace a cultural route and its highlights is offered by the European Institute of Cultural Routes in: http://culture-routes.net/routes/charles (example based on the Route of the Emperor Charles V).

C.   Raising awareness

Enhancement is not, however, totally destined for tourists. One aspect of it addresses local population. Heritage and culture are important factors of collective identities. Despite the fact that many countries have built part of their national identity on their heritage, local people, particularly in South European countries, do not spend much of their free time in heritage-related places and activities. In Greece, for example, a research carried out in 2015 showed that the Greeks going rarely to archaeological sites and museums is 47,2%, but those going very often reach only 7%  and those going often reach 26%. 17% of the Greeks NEVER visit heritage-related sites. The basic age group of Greek visitors to heritage sites are educated young people up to 34 years old, often parents of little children (Σφυγμός Πολιτισμού, 2015).  On the other hand, however, all Greeks believe that culture and heritage is a basic pier of the country’s economy and a factor of national pride.

A reason why local people don’t spend so much time in cultural activities or in relation to their heritage sites is the effect of alienation which often comes from a sense that all this is made by others and for others. Heritage assets are administered in an often rigid and impersonal way, whereas cultural activities often target the tourists in a region rather than the locals.  The local public is rarely asked to participate to these processes. However, international heritage organizations recognize the crucial role that local communities play in the protection of heritage and the propagation of culture; after all “local communities” is the answer to the question “ for whom do we enhance and protect heritage and culture”?  ICCROM (International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property), for example, functioning under UNESCO auspices, in 1991 added in its foundation act the phrase  “to encourage initiatives that create a better understanding of the conservation and restoration of cultural property”. Having set this as a goal, it then went on to design a series of activities aiming at public advocacy [http://www.iccrom.org/ifrcdn/pdf/ICCROM_03_PublicAdvocacy_en.pdf, last accessed 12/9/2017]. Similar actions can be designed for any heritage site or even site with cultural interest.


9.      Feasibility study

In the present dire economic situation and austerity throughout Europe, it is mandatory to prepare a feasibility study before any action of restoration and enhancement or organization of cultural activities. This study will set the foundations for establishing our cultural project as a self-sustained entity, regardless of state subventions or other “third party” sponsorships.

A feasibility study should involve a SWOT/PESTEL analysis as its starting point. This is a matrix analysis for establishing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for any given project.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWOT_analysis

Strengths and weaknesses in a SWOT analysis refer to one’s own organization or project, i.e. to the inherent features, whereas opportunities and threats refer to external factors which may affect the final outcome. A SWOT analysis is the necessary first step to carefully consider one’s project, its position in relation to other projects, its resources and potential outcome etc. It is therefore an essential step to strategy building, helpful for all plans and projects, profit-and non-profit making.


Upon proceeding with the feasibility study one has to draw a list of expenses necessary for setting the project in motion as well as for keeping it functioning in the long run. Such expenses are:

●       Conservation, restoration and maintenance costs (restoration of buildings, interior refurbishment, earthquake protection, energy efficiency and –if applicable- conservation of movable items and exhibits.

●       Expenses for museographic study (if the heritage asset under consideration is going to become a museum), preparation of informative material within the museum.

●       Infrastructure installation expenses (electricity/power connections, heating system, security system, water supply, sewage, cable and internet connection etc. Furthermore, infrastructure maintenance and use expenses (bills etc).

●       IT and audiovisual-related infrastructure (computers, projectors, printers, cameras, scanners etc), including service and consumables costs.

●       Human resources: personnel, specialties, possibility to outsource part of the work, personnel that will be needed for the further function of the heritage asset/cultural event.

●       Enhancement and advertisement costs: signposting in the vicinity, printing of leaflets and informative material, building an internet site, radio or tv spots, you tube channel, social media, personnel for Public Relations.

●       Expenses for creating and running side-events or educational programmes and awareness-raising programmes.

●       Extraordinary expenses such as business-related travel expenses for manager or personnel, minor repairs, car or van rental for moving things or helping visitors etc.

●       On the other hand, a list of possible income sources has to be drawn in a creative, imaginative and bold way. Such sources can be:

●       Income from tickets, saleable objects, recreation spaces, restaurants and coffee shops etc.

●       Income from scheduled educational or recreational programmes.

●       State aid (from municipal taxes, ministry etc).

●       Sponsoring by donors or by a club of “friends” that can be organized for the general support of our site/event.

●       Reciprocal income generated by the touristic development of the broader region due to the function of the site/event: following a special memorandum with business owners in the region a very small amount of i.e. hotel bookings or other fees can be attributed to the cultural site/event through a special fund. This has occurred in Florence, for example, where a large booking company has arranged to save one euro from every booking made through their e-platform in order to help the maintenance of the facades of historic buildings in the city.

●       Fundraising and crowdsourcing, particularly for funding extraordinary needs or remedy emergencies. The difference with sponsorships is that in fundraising and crowdsourcing many people offer a little, therefore civil society is the primary agent.


Appendix: Contents and recommendations for the feasibility study

To begin we can define an index to develop after. It could be similar to this:








7.       SCHEDULE





The executive summary provides an overview of the content contained in the feasibility study document. Many people write this section after the rest of the document is completed. This section is important in that it provides a higher level summary of the detail contained within the rest of the document.


This section provides a high level description of the selected project which is being considered as the object of the feasibility study. The purpose of this section is to provide detailed descriptions of exactly what the organization is considering, so this information can be applied to the following sections of the document. It is important that this description captures the most important aspects of the Project  that the organization is considering, as well as how it may benefit customers and the organization.

Probably most of this information has been described in chapters before, so we can summarize it and refer to this other sections


This section should explain any considerations the organization must make with regards to technology. Many new initiatives rely on technology to manage or monitor various business functions. New technology may be developed internally or contracted through a service provider and always result in costs which must be weighed in determining the path forward.


This section describes the existing marketplace for the Project, conservation / valorisation / cultural one the organization is considering. It may describe who the target market consists of for these project, who the competitors are, how project will be provided, and why customers might choose our project. Most marketplaces are dynamic environments in which things change constantly. To enter a new marketplace blindly will usually result in an organization not fully understanding its role and not maximizing its resulting benefits.


This section provides a high level description of how the organization will market its project. Some topics which should be included are: how does an organization differentiate itself from its competitors; types of marketing the organization will utilize; and who the organization will target. Marketing efforts must be focused on the right target groups in order to yield the greatest return on investment.


With many new projects there may be a need for additional staffing or for an organization to restructure in order to accommodate the change. These are important considerations as they may result in increased costs or require an organization to change its practices and processes.

7.       SCHEDULE

This section is intended to provide a high level framework for implementation of the Project being considered. This section is not intended to include a detailed Schedule, as this would be developed during project planning should this initiative be approved. This section may include some targeted milestones and timeframes for completion as a guideline only.


This section provides a description of the financial projections the new initiative is expected to yield versus additional costs. Financial projections are one key aspect of new project selection criteria. There are many ways to present these projections. Net present value (NPV), cost-benefit calculations, and balance sheets are just some examples of how financial projections may be illustrated. This section should also provide the assumptions on which the illustrated financial projections are based.

As an example of a cost-benefit calculation it is included next template:


Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Total 3 year

Salesincome projection










Aditional/Staffing costs





Rentings, materials, insurance costs...





Technological costs: web server, online activities, social media…





Subcontraction costs…











An important comment is that if our Project is going to be financed we will have to include in the section of expenses, the payments  for returning the loan plus its interests


This section should summarize the findings of the feasibility study and explain why this course of action is or is not recommended. This section may include a description of pros and cons for the initiative being considered. This section should be brief since most of the detail is included elsewhere in the document. Additionally, it should capture the likelihood of success for the business idea being studied.

11.Sustainability study

Although often confused and actually coinciding with the feasibility study, a sustainability study focuses more on the long-term repercussions of the cultural project and examines thoroughly its impact on the social and natural environment as well as its potential for becoming a lever for sustainable development in the region. To develop the sustainability study of a Project we have to focus in three issues:

•          Economical

•          Environmental

•          Social

The Project must accomplish with the requirements of all of this three aspects. If one of them presents some negative impacts, we have to add to the Project the actions that eliminate or minimized this negative impact

Another important point to keep in mind is that we have to ensure the sustainability of the Project all along its lifecycle. This means that we have to define some indicators, related with the three aspects mentioned above, and measure the results in each one. This will make possible the verification of project’s sustainability

1.      Economical sustainability

During the design of the Project, we have to define the objectives and the results we want to achieve in a short, medium and long term.

If the project is developed by an NGO or an Administration Entity, our objective is not to have benefits but we have to ensure that we also have not losses.

If the project is developed by a private or profit corporation, we will have to produce some benefits to maintain and develop our business.

So, in any case, we have to elaborate our financial plan and feasibility study that support our objectives. After this, our mission is to verify periodically the compliance with these plans.

2.      Environmental sustainability

In the Risks Study of our Project we have to consider which impacts exist over the environment during its life cycle.

It is very important to identify the different parts of the Project life cycle because it is possible that the impacts are very different in each one.

Thus ensure the environmental sustainability we need to plan the measures we are going to adopt in each moment of the development of the Project. For instance, if we are developing cultural events, we will have to consider that if a lot of people is going to a natural site, they could throw out rubbish. In this case, to avoid this potential negative impact, we will have to set the necessary number of waste bins. We will also have to develop a plan that increases the awareness of the public in order to make visitors conscious of the importance of taking care of the environment.

3.      Social sustainability

The Project has not only to provide benefits to the company or person that promotes it. It has to offer benefits to the society (stakeholders) it is related with.

To ensure our Project is socially sustainable, we have to study some aspects:

●       To identify the stakeholders and their interests.

●       To identify how the results of the Project can impact in those interests.

●       To establish actions to be implemented at the same time that the Project to avoid or minimized negative impacts and to increase positive ones.

At the end, the sustainability of our Project is given by the balance of the economical, environmental and social sustainability