Realizing values of built environment: fundamentals of socio economic approach

This course is part of the programme
Doctoral study programme Cultural Heritage Studies

Objectives and competences

The aim is to develop insights in the value based approach to architecture and conservation. Students learn to differentiate among values and about ways to realize values. This includes knowledge about alternative ways of financing architectonic projects.
They learn to apply these insights in actual cases.


No prerequisites.


  1. What are the questions?
  2. The relation between culture and economy:
    Economists do not consider culture as a factor. Yet, culture plays a significant role in economic processes.
  3. Realizing values:
    The challenge is to be aware of the relevant values involved and to determine the best way to make them real.
  4. The notion of values. Different values:
    It is common to distinguish exchange from use values. Other distinctions are in order, especially when we are interested in the values of architecture and conservation
  5. The notion of common and shared goods:
    Think of architecture as a common good, and notice how the discussion of its realization will change..
  6. Realizing the values of goods in four different spheres:
    The logics of the market, governance, the social logic and the logic of the ôikos
  7. Case studies:
    Using the case of the inner city of Rotterdam and of Barcelona

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge of values and of processes of the realization of values.
The ability to read and interpret values in actual cases and to design policies and strategies for the realization and evaluation of values.


Klamer A., 2007. Speaking of Economics: How to be in the Conversation
Klamer A., 2014. Doing the Right Thing (manuscript)
Klamer A., 2014, The Values of Archaeological and Heritage Sites, in Archaeology and Economic Development, Special Issue
Klamer A., Throsby D., 2000. Paying for the past: the economics of cultural heritage
Pitacco G., 2013. Values of Architecture
Throsby D., 2001. Economics and Culture
Rizzo I., Mignosa A., 2013(edited by). Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage


Participation in class. Written assignment. 50/50

Lecturer's references

Arjo Klamer is a professor in the economics of art and culture at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, where he holds the world’s only chair in the field of cultural economics
Professor Klamer has published numerous scholarly articles and books on the economics of cultural heritage, cultural goods, the attention economy, the rhetoric of economics, and written columns in several newspapers. He is also a board member of various cultural and social institutions, and the founder of Academia Vitae - a university for and about life. He is chairman of the Philosophy East West and chairman of the board of trustees of a school for graphic craftmanship.
His books include The Value of Culture (1996), The Story of Money (1998), Speaking of Economics: How to be in the Conversation (2007), Pak Aan (2011) and Economy in bed, on the toilet, or bath (2011, with Paul Teule and Erwin Dekker).