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Transforming communities: Delivering social value through forward-thinking development in the North East

May 21, 2024

A photograph of planters in a community garden
John Long, igloo Regeneration
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In recent years, social value creation has become an increasingly important element of urban regeneration, with an expectation placed on developers to embed social and environmental principles at the very heart of their schemes. From prioritising community engagement to devising innovative reinvestment frameworks, this new standard is becoming built into every stage of the development process. 

The shift in focus to social value creation represents not just a change in building practices, but a redefinition of what it means to create lasting, meaningful impact through development. igloo is proud to be a pioneer in this area. From Newcastle and Nottingham to Glasgow and beyond, we’ve long been focused on creating places that deliver for both people and planet, guided by our footprint® methodology. 


Creating places for people and planet 

Developers excelling in social value creation do so by taking a strategic approach. Our own commitment is deeply embedded in our footprint® methodology, which prioritises the real interests of the communities in which we work, focusing on key elements like community engagement and formation, health, happiness and wellbeing, while adhering to rigorous environmental standards. 

Footprint® ensures that every one of our projects is not only viable today but sustainable for future generations. It promotes innovative urban design and regeneration, incorporating community feedback to tailor each development to its specific local needs.  

When it comes to community-focused development taking place on the ground, Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle is an exemplar project. The scheme – a collaboration between Newcastle City Council, Homes England, and igloo – is transforming a historically neglected area into a thriving neighbourhood and over 300 sustainable homes. 

But what sets Ouseburn Valley apart is its holistic approach to community engagement – with part of the service charge reinvested back into the community and local initiatives, ensuring continuous improvement and direct benefits to residents. This project not only animates the physical space but also aids community spirit, setting a benchmark for social value in urban development. 

While Ouseburn Valley is a prime example of community-focused development being undertaken by igloo, our work in this area extends across the country. In Nottingham, Trent Basin is particularly notable for its groundbreaking community energy scheme, which features innovative renewable energy solutions, such as solar panels and communal battery storage, creating low-energy homes that benefit both residents and the environment. 


The importance of collaboration 

Across the development landscape, collaboration is crucial for delivering social value to local communities, creating places that support residents today and into the future. By working together from an early stage, developers, local government, non-profit organisations, and community groups can ensure that schemes not only meet high environmental standards but also deliver real value to communities. This partnership approach allows for a whole range of insights and expertise, leading to the creation of ambitious schemes which might not be possible with siloed efforts. 

Successful collaboration in development also involves engaging with local communities from the outset. This approach ensures that the projects are well-aligned with the needs and values of the people they impact, fostering a sense of ownership and acceptance. It also helps in identifying potential issues early on, allowing for solutions that are inclusive and beneficial to all stakeholders. This collective input is key to creating urban spaces that are not only built to last but are also cherished by those who inhabit them. 

The role of developments like Ouseburn Valley in shaping the quality of life for communities cannot be overstated. By placing social value at the core of urban development, we can enhance the environments we inhabit, while fostering a sense of belonging. As we look towards the future, it is clear that the integration of social value into every facet of urban development is not just desirable, but entirely essential. 


The path ahead 

Now is the time for developers – and other stakeholders involved in all stages of the development process – to realise the importance of embedding social value creation into their schemes. It’s no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a precursor to creating new neighbourhoods and establishing communities in the long term. 

This path that igloo has charted, embedded in our footprint® approach and flagship sustainable, community-focused developments up and down the country, is leading to more resilient and vibrant communities – highlighting that successful development is not simply measured in the creation of places, but in the thriving communities that choose to call them home. 

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