Sustainable Place-keeping Meridian Water

a collage with a map, colourful shapes and paper representing the Meridian Water project

In 2021 we joined regeneration and estate management experts to help Enfield Council’s client team apply their existing sustainability vision to place management and governance for a proposed 10,000 home scheme.

Meridian Water is a complex and ambitious 25-year regeneration programme to deliver up to 10,000 new homes and 6,000 jobs across 10 hectares of new parkland within a vibrant public realm.

Its’ aspiring sustainability strategy sets out an impressive better planet blueprint for Meridian Water to be carbon positive, zero waste and circular in approach. With detailed plans in place for the design and construction stages, there was a necessity to focus on the critical operational stage to support long-term sustainable place-keeping.

"They brought an understanding of the strategic planning side along with a practical knowledge of how things are working on the ground.”

Public sector specific challenges

“Futureground highlighted to us just how complex the Meridian Water scheme was,” says Annette Russell, Regeneration Manager for the project. “Especially in these financially strained times in the public sector. They identified the different levels of approach needed to embrace sustainability, along with consideration of how to pay for things, since it’s not always clear where the funding is coming from.”

Annette had previously received disparate and poor quality advice in some areas so we had to work to restore confidence. We began by sharing best practice from our experience of implementing sustainability across other diverse areas of the built environment.

“What’s happening at Meridian Water is not being done in many places in the UK,” Annette says. “So it was really useful to have Futureground share stories of other projects. They brought an understanding of the strategic planning side along with a practical knowledge of how things are working on the ground.”

Turning sustainable goals into actionable steps

A project this technically, legally and socially complex required us to adopt a grounded whole system approach to keep ideas focused and strategy simple.

As Annette says: “Futureground took a step back to a framework approach, as opposed to working through minute details and retro-fitting them into an existing strategy.”

We began with an extensive review of more than 1,000 pages of design, technical and legal existing documentation covering the proposed development.

We then developed and delivered workshops to ask good questions that explore key issues and opportunities.

The brief was fluid and dynamic, and we adopted agile ways of working to ensure focus and drive value from the project.

“Local Authorities are not always comfortable with working on a fluid ad hoc basis, but on a project this complex, with so many variables, it was essential. Futureground gave me the confidence to take my colleagues on that journey,” explained Enfield Council’s Regeneration Manager Annette Russell, who was new to the role.

As part of this unearthing process, Futureground brought comparables and shared insights to inspire and challenge stakeholders’ thinking.

“It became apparent that it was an ongoing iterative process, impossible to solve everything in one go,” Annette says. “All Futureground’s questions helped us to clarify next steps and consider what to do after each phase.”

"Futureground understands complex regeneration schemes and the opportunities around resident involvement in placekeeping"

Detailing positive outcomes

We created a simple outcome-oriented action report. This included thematic and service mapping, as well as an opportunities assessment to inform the high-level approach to sustainable place-keeping.

Everything was presented to senior leaders and council decision-makers in 2021, so sustainable estate management could be accounted for in future revisions of the local authority’s delivery plans.

“Futureground understands complex regeneration schemes and the opportunities around resident involvement in placekeeping,” says Annette.

“They have a wealth of knowledge and experience on both the infrastructure and the operational requirements in managing new built environments, placing sustainability and social value front and centre. They also have experience of working with local authorities and statutory bodies which many consultants don’t.”

“I would not hesitate to recommend them to others seeking cutting edge insight alongside deliverable outcomes.”

Need help with a multilayered approach to place sustainability and stewardship?

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