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Adaptive reuse potential: An examination of differences between urban and non‐urban projects

Li‐yin Shen (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong)
Craig Langston (Bond University, Mirvac School of Sustainable Development, Gold Coast, Australia)


ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 2 February 2010




Adaptive reuse of existing building stock that has reached the end of its useful life, but not its physical life, is an important ingredient in the necessary adaptation of the constructed environment due to the impact of climate change and the need to conserve valuable resources into the future. This paper aims to advance previous research that has developed a means to predict adaptive reuse potential (ARP).


This study is conducted by comparing ARP (ARP) between urban and non‐urban settings drawn from case studies in both Hong Kong and Australia. The results are also compared to a database of 64 completed adaptive reuse case studies worldwide to provide a comparative benchmark against which to assess the findings.


Through application of the ARP model, mean values are determined for a number of variables that suggest that the model relates equally well to different contexts. However, the data further suggest that the 12 urban cases in Hong Kong have a lower ARP score on average than the 12 non‐urban cases in Australia, yet the maximum ARP score possible is higher.

Research limitations/implications

The paper indicates that adaptive reuse intervention in Hong Kong is too late and valuable opportunity for economic, social and environmental gain is delayed.

Practical implications

The paper provides useful means to assist decision‐making on how to handle or use existing buildings. Understanding adaptive reuse potential of existing buildings is important and this study provides an effective method for supporting this understanding.


The means to predict ARP in previous studies is advanced in this study.



Shen, L. and Langston, C. (2010), "Adaptive reuse potential: An examination of differences between urban and non‐urban projects", Facilities, Vol. 28 No. 1/2, pp. 6-16.



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Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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