Some parts of the historic environment are important to society as a whole or to a group within it and merit some level of protection or consideration. They are often valued for more than their economic worth. This often justifies a protection system for the historic environment which may interfere with the private rights of property owners. Conservation is the process of maintaining and managing change to a heritage asset in a way that sustains, and where appropriate enhances, its significance. Indeed change is often vital to facilitate the optimum viable use of an asset so that it continues to receive investment. Globally, there are many different approaches to how heritage is protected and conserved; in some counties protection is well defined and provided, and in others there may be no formal protection at all.
Expertise and IDBE interests in this area include:
- Conservation in planning policy and regulation – Kayla Friedman
- Preserving heritage in domestic buildings – Ray Galvin
- Quantifying heritage – Kayla Friedman
 English Heritage (2014). ‘Heritage conservation defined’. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/professional/advice/hpg/generalintro/heritageconservationdefined/