COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Designers generally tend to focus more on the physical and environmental aspects of development rather than the economic or social concerns. We understand the vital importance of creating mixed-use environments, as well as employment areas, which promote social interaction and bring about more cohesive, healthy and integrated communities.

We have developed a simple approach which explains our ideas to clients, stakeholders and members of the general public. Our model explains how good design can encourage people to behave differently – bringing about behavioural change by design. This stems from our belief that encouragement is more effective than coercion. The success of our work is dependent on creative collaboration, both internally within our studios and externally with our clients, co-consultants, the local community and stakeholders, which results in designs that are owned and loved by everyone involved.

Our approach to community consultation is based around pro-active participation and engagement. Through this we are able to involve local communities and stakeholders, encourage local champions and, ultimately, demonstrate how the views of the community have helped shape development proposals.  From the fundamental strands of environment, society and economy, we focus on the energy, water, waste, land use, transport, landscape and biodiversity aspects of every plan we draw.

“Sutton Griffin’s architects and urban designers are committed to helping communities to create places with lasting qualities, i.e. they are designed to actually get better over time.”

We balance people’s needs for healthy environments, with a network of local jobs and with designs which encourage people to know their neighbours. One of our key strengths as placemakers is our ability to work with local communities and listen to their concerns. A side-effect of this approach is that the very consultation process itself can help to bring a community together, and perhaps as importantly keep it together long after the consultants have left.

Often appointed as an extension of our services, we also undertake stand-alone community engagement commissions.  We utilise a range of communication tools - from simple information leaflets and newsletters, to social media, press releases, major stakeholder events, workshops, public exhibitions, websites and ‘Planning for Real’ events - to build and maintain good relations throughout the lifetime of the project.  We draft the wording, design the graphics and often build interactive working models to explain our ideas.