This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Heritage and People: Value and Impact

Find out about the evidence which shows that heritage can boost pride in local areas, improve individual wellbeing and strengthen sense of place.

Research in this area includes:

  • Individual wellbeing (Heritage Counts 2014)
  • Public attitudes toward industrial heritage at risk (2011)
  • Young people and heritage (2011)
  • Sense of Place (Heritage Counts 2009)

Heritage and wellbeing

Research was commissioned to evaluate the impact of heritage on individual wellbeing.

The latest statistical techniques were used to calculate that visiting heritage is worth £1,646 to the average participant.

This is the amount of money that would have to be taken away from a person to return them to the state of wellbeing had they not visited the heritage site. This is based on three visits to a heritage site per year and controls for other factors which may influence wellbeing such as marital status etc.

  • Heritage is more valuable than sport and the arts respectively
  • The research also revealed that visiting a historic town and city had the greatest impact on wellbeing

Download the report on Heritage and Wellbeing.

Historic England has also carried out further research to understand the relationship between Wellbeing and the Historic Environment to help inform our future work.


Public attitudes toward industrial heritage at risk (2011)

Research among a representative sample of adults in England was carried out in order to:

  • Provide evidence on why industrial heritage is valued, and who by.
  • Help inform industrial heritage conservation and solutions for reuse.
  • Inform the process of raising the profile of industrial heritage in England.

The results consider a number of demographic variables to determine who most values industrial heritage and why. Key findings include:

  • 61% strongly agree industrial heritage should be valued and appreciated.
  • 56% agreed or strongly agreed that industrial heritage made them feel proud of their local area.
  • Half of the respondents associated their local industrial heritage sites with education.

Download the report on Industrial Heritage at Risk Public Attitudes Survey

Young people and heritage

1,000 young people took part in exercises designed to understand their attitudes and experiences of their historic environment. They were asked to complete a questionnaire and take photos of places which mattered to them most.

  • Young people who state they live in historic areas have a stronger sense of place to their local area than those who do not.
  • 58% of buildings the young people cited as important were listed.
  • The report recommends that the heritage sector should increase young people’s use of the historic environment if they are to value it.

Assessing the importance and value of historic buildings to young people

Assessing the importance and value of historic buildings to young people

Published 31 January 2011

This is the report from a study to identify the importance and value of the historic environment to young people aged 14-16 (referred to here as 'teenagers'). It responds to a need to develop the interest in heritage among all children and young people. The study built upon innovative research in 2009 on links between teenagers' sense of place and the historic environment.

View over terraced housing
Image taken by a student at Challenge College in Bradford

Sense of Place – the value of living in the historic environment

Heritage Counts 2009 focused on the role of the historic environment in shaping what individuals think and feel about where they live – their sense of place.

A national survey of 500 adults was used to measure the impact of living in historic areas on sense of place, after controlling for other factors. Respondents lived in areas where the levels of historic environment were different.

The results reveal that people are likely to have a stronger sense of place if:

  • They live in areas with a higher level of historic environment.
  • Young people and adults can cite a local building or monument as special.

This research proved the importance of the historic environment for all – regardless of socio-economic factors or whether there had been any recent investment in the historic environment.

Download the report on Sense of Place and Social Capital and the Historic Built Environment

Was this page helpful?


Adala Leeson

Head of Social and Economic Research

Engagement Group

Also of interest...