Our living evolution – part 1.


Greg Jones

People, places, possibilities… what will the next decade hold for the ever-evolving reality of sustainability?

Societal evolution: The shared experience.

A strengthened community

Communities are the building blocks of a lively, interconnected network of services and relationships that enable places to thrive. Simply constructing buildings in isolation is not enough. Highly inclusive, fluid and inter-connected public spaces cohere people together and help create a vibrant community. Knitting the existing with new and honouring local spirit will spark strong community integration.

Embracing diversity of people, activities and experiences

Using the ‘feel-good gravitational force’ of activity and experiences, places can draw in people from all walks of life, increasing the overall value created by a site. Single-use buildings (much like single-use plastics!) will become the minority. In their place, hubs made up of homes, workplaces, retail and leisure spaces, with strong public transport networks will become the norm. By activating public spaces from the outset, activities will emerge organically in response to demand, and design inclusivity will ensure appeal to a wide range of social and demographic groups.

Empowered local voice

Asking, listening and being open to challenge will foster community engagement as an iterative process throughout placemaking. This transcends consultation and enables local communities to generate ideas and collaboratively co-create a place. Diverse engagement methods and communication channels will be deployed to engage audiences who are typically less involved with such processes, and balance out the vocal minorities who tend to dominate the conversation. Success will be defined throughout the lifespan of a development at a multiplicity of junctures, and engagement will take an array of different forms responding to the context. Inclusivity and transparency will help build trust, confidence and a dialogue that leads to opportunities on all sides.

The concept of ownership is waning. With greater proportions of society preferring to share assets and experiences, more and more people will come together around a common platform, be that transport, open space, food, leisure and other amenities.

Read more with Part 2