Historic building in Portsmouth

Historic Environments, Heritage and Conservation Research

Explore our research expertise in historic environments and conservation

There's a lack of understanding of the importance of heritage sites – not just the physical buildings and sites, but also their intangible dimensions, such as the stories they tell, the memories they hold, and their contemporary social values among current communities.  

Through our research in Historic Environments, Heritage and Conservation, we're looking at how architecture, community and creative and digital practices can play a role in enhancing historic environments. By preserving the physical cultural heritage, and recording intangible and social values of sites, we work to build aspiration, pride, engagement and ownership over peoples' heritage and past.

This is particularly important because recent figures show that engagement with cultural heritage is decreasing, particularly in younger generations. This issue demands better integration of heritage into research and teaching, and new methods for representing cultural heritage and historic environments are needed. Therefore, we believe in promoting the contribution of design as well as creative and digital methodologies to the revival of heritage and historic environment and the dissemination of wider social, environmental, and economic benefits of the conservation and adaptive reuse practices.

To that end, we're working to understand cultural aspects and through our work, aim to inform the regeneration process and produce culturally-accepted urban environment and city planning strategies. With the existence of the University of Portsmouth Heritage Hub, we aspire to continue using participatory and co-creation approaches and integrate wider cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary collaborations and explorations to bring about holistic and engaging solutions in collaborations with communities and stakeholders.

We've presented our research at local and international conferences, and our work is frequently published in books and journals – including the Journal of Cultural Heritage, Identities Journal, the Architectural History Journal, and the International Journal of Heritage Studies.

Our research covers the following topics

  • Digital heritage
  • Urban heritage
  • Historic interiors
  • Reuse
  • Regeneration
  • Conservation theory
  • Heritage and conflict
  • Architectural conservation
  • Urban conservation
  • Digital preservation
  • Conservation technologies
  • Sustainable conservation
  • Community-based conservation


We use qualitative research techniques, such as interviews, questionnaires and focuses groups, to capture peoples' values and positions. Creative and analysis technologies can be used to record existing environment, as well as represent possible interpretation and integration policies.

The Cultural Heritage Research group also features interdisciplinary research and activities that frequently lead to collaborative projects between architecture, humanities and technologies, while our MA Conservation Architecture and MArch Design Studios degrees also reinforce this theme through teaching.

Collaborations and funders

In the UK, we collaborate with Historic England and English Heritage, who facilitate research on sites. Overseas, we work with universities in Lebanon and Egypt, facilitating oversea collaboration and possible Global Challenges Research Funding (GCRF).

Recent project highlights

Recent publication highlights

Discover our areas of expertise

Historic environments and conservation is one of our 8 areas of research expertise in Architecture, Interiors and Urbanism – explore the other 7 below.

Interior architecture and interior design

We're investigating how architects and designers might rethink the way they approach interior spaces, by exploring how buildings are used by people.

Retro Chair, Bike and Cabinet
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Architecture Technologies and Devices

Through our research, we're re-thinking the way we build cities, to better react to environmental issues and challenges, such as climate change.

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Architecture and Interior Design Studios Pedagogies

We're researching issues related to teaching and learning within creative and design disciplines, focusing on pedagogy, curriculum, student engagement, and learning theories.

Close-up design alphabet
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Computational Culture and Technologies in Architecture and Urban Design

We're studying the integration of digital technology and new technologies in architectural planning, urban planning, and sustainability – and how they can impact future design processes.

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Our members

Tarek Teba Portrait

Dr Tarek Teba

Associate Professor in Architectural Heritage


School of Architecture

Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries

PhD Supervisor

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Research groups

Architecture and Urban Design: Histories and Theories

We're researching narratives of place and the construction of new historiographical and theoretical discourses in architecture, interiors, landscape, and urbanism.

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Read about our research

Interested in a PhD in Architecture, Interiors & Urbanism?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Architecture, Interiors & Urbanism postgraduate research degrees page.