5 capitals: social.


The power of connections.

It’s vital that any approach to sustainable design is outcomes-focused. The overarching aim is to emphasise the value that can be created from sustainable developments. In collaboration with our clients, we create simple, clear aims that add value in these key areas.

1. Social: the value for wider society
2. Human: the impact on the users
3. Physical: the building & infrastructure
4. Natural: the enhancement of the environment
5. Economic: the commercial benefits

All week, we’ll be looking at each of these capitals in more detail. The first is social capital.

Social capital leverages the power of human connections and relationships. It’s how we use the space between buildings to create, grow, and enhance communities and identities.

Encouraging collaborations and partnerships between buildings creates immense social value for the area and the people who live, work, and visit. When we create spaces that function successfully for people, the impact on society can be profound.

However, social value doesn’t just stop at the projects we help to design. As an industry leader, we also embody social capital through our actions:

Industry influence:

  • Leading or contributing to expert panels on factors that influence social value
  • Sitting on boards and regulatory committees, where guidelines are shaped, to ensure that social value is taken into consideration

Academia & STEM outreach:

  • As visiting professors, lecturers, and course contributors, we can help shape how future engineers and designers understand social capital
  • Through professional mentorships, to directly contribute to job prospects for young people
  • Offering placements in all our offices, to provide valuable experience for those wanting to break into the industry
  • Volunteering by more than 50 of our employees at schools and workshops to help promote engineering to the next generation

Charity partnerships:

Sustainable developments are complex and rewarding, yet sustainability must no longer be a box-ticking exercise. Social capital is a vital part of any sustainable approach.

We must deliver tangible real term benefits – benefits for people, for now, and for the future.

 Take a look at our short video clip explaining our approach to creating social capital:

Look out for our post tomorrow, where we’ll be looking in more detail at the human capital.