CLIC UHDF - circular Urban Heritage Development Fund

Challenge: WHY the innovation has been developed? What problem is addressed and why has not been not solved before?

Urban authorities, due to tightening of central government funds, sometimes give the private sector carte blanche to invest in piecemeal projects. The result is often a strange mismatch of urban projects which do not adhere to the same vision and plan, and as a result, they are not able to leverage far-reaching sustainable and social impacts for creating cohesive and equitable cities.

Solution: WHAT the solution is about? HOW it goes beyond the state of the art?

The Urban Heritage Development Fund (UHDF) is a specific fund designed to support investments at urban level, particularly cultural heritage investments. The UHDF is designed to support investments at urban level through the creation of a portfolio of urban cultural heritage projects to make manifest the strategic vision of the city. It aims to achieve financial returns as well as environmental and social impacts. Different from an individual project investment, the UHDF vehicle invests its resources in a portfolio of projects. In this way it becomes possible to coordinate multiple investments over long time horizons, capture synergies across different types of projects, and improve or tailor the financial structure of individual projects (e.g. debt, equity, guarantees). The portfolio is grounded on the idea that several urban projects can reinforce each other, and in so doing achieve greater stability in their financial returns, resilience to shocks, and ultimately, reduce the financial risks. We obtain this result not only by considering the financial returns of the projects, but also in accounting for their environmental and social impacts.

End-users and examples of uses: WHO will beneficiate/ is beneficiating from the solution? WHERE and HOW the solution has been adopted? How will impact people or end-users? Add as more as possible examples of market and society uptakes

The proposed Fund is designed to attract a variety of investors (pension funds, commercial banks, and development financial institutions) by offering an urban investment strategy that treats projects in the city as integrated and interdependent. In so doing, it is possible to obtain a multiplier effect in the financial returns. By combining financial and non-financial impacts, we can optimise the portfolio through leveraging of the multiplier effects produced by the investments. Like different sound waves, as they resonate and prolong the effect, we similarly construct and optimise the portfolio on investments for cities. This fund structure allows for the facilitation of co-investing, integrating day-to-day implementation, or monitoring of long-term strategies. In its application, the UHDF also has a revolving mechanism which capture opportunities to employ investment re-flows (dividends/revenues/investment exits) in support of long-term investment objectives.

Future possibilities: Future market perspectives when the innovation will be fully available or in use

One important aspect of the fund is to understand that co-investing can take place at both Fund level and at project level, exploiting the opportunity to attract different types of investors. For instance, the fund could be partly financed by the Public Investment Fund but should be structured in ways to attract others investors, such as regional finance, impact investors, conventional investors, and so forth. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the fund co-investing should be combined with project co-investing corresponding to the sector and risk profile of specific projects for instance the museum could attract funding from foundations and non-profits; the enterprise incubator from venture capitalists, crowdfunding initiatives, etc.


Francesca Romana Medda (

Application sectors:

  • Circular models for CH


  • Regional/Local development
  • Other

RRI Dimensions:

  • Governance


  • Circular, sustainable and creative cities