UCL Institute of Finance & Technology



Identifying evaluation tools to test and implement “circular” financing and governance models for adaptive reuse of cultural heritage

Cultural heritage is considered a resource for local sustainable development, although there are some contradictions. Sites recognised as cultural heritage are increasing; the costs for functional maintenance/reuse are growing, while public resources available are becoming scarcer, and private actors are increasingly focused on the short time for payback. Now, there is a growing risk that heritage will decay year by year, because of lack of funding support and viable business models.


In this context, CLIC brings together disciplines to identify evaluation tools to test, implement, validate and share innovative “circular” financing, business and governance models for systemic adaptive reuse of cultural heritage and landscape, demonstrating the economic, social, environmental convenience, in terms of long lasting economic, cultural and environmental wealth. This includes the analysis of hybrid financing and business models that promote circularity through shared value creation, assessing their feasibility, bankability and robustness.

By synthesising existing knowledge on best practices of cultural heritage adaptive reuse, CLIC will make its outputs accessible to researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs and civil society organisations, overcoming existing cultural, social, economic, institutional, legal, regulatory and administrative barriers. This will account for the differing geographic, historic, cultural and political contexts of the four European cities/territories within which the project operates. CLIC implements the UNESCO Recommendation on Historic Urban Landscape to reconnect fragmented landscapes, and to contribute to the creation of new jobs and skills, as well as the New Urban Agenda. 


Academic and Advisory

Prof Francesca Medda is Director and Professor of Applied Economics and Finance at UCL IFT. Professor Medda's key research areas are digital finance, impact & sustainable finance, and urban & infrastructure investments.

PhD students

Yuen Lo is a Research Assistant for CLIC. He is also a PhD student at IFT, while working at nChain, a leader in enterprise blockchain. His current research includes DeFi, decentralized exchanges, and the use of blockchain to ensure data integrity and enable secure selective sharing. The provisional title of his PhD thesis is Economic Applications of Blockchain.

Akash Sharma is a Research Assistant for CLIC. He is also a PhD student at IFT. Akash's research interests are in Macroeconomics, Bayesian methods and inference. He holds a BSc in Economics and MSc in Statistics.

Publications & Activities

Blockchain as a cultural heritage investment tool (2019)
Presenter: Yuen Lo
Slides available here

Symposium on Innovative Finance for Cultural Heritage (2019)
Host: Prof Francesca Medda, IFT
Summary: The Symposium focused on innovative financial models and instruments to preserve and increase the value of both material and immaterial heritage assets, leveraging on their potential for increasing social cohesion and wellbeing, as well as on their pivotal role in building cultural identity and a sense of belonging across diverse communities. Prof Francesca Medda opened the works by introducing the CLIC project, dedicated to develop, test and validate innovative circular business, financing and governance models to place cultural heritage and historical urban landscapes adaptive reuse at the forefront for the implementation of a European model of circular economy and circular city-region centered on the regeneration of cultural and natural capital.