Collaborative Planning - Nottingham

Collaborative Planning

Creating a liveable and resilient community by bringing together technical expertise.

The Project

The Goal 

The aim of the project is to create a "new community" in the Trent Basin site that will trigger a catalytic mechanism to spread local change across the River Trent waterside and the larger Nottingham area.

Local Task Force

The project team consisted of professionals with diverse expertise, such as Igloo Blueprint, the developers of the site; researchers from the University of Nottingham (UoN); URBED, an urban design specialist; and Marsh:Grochowski, innovative housing architects. Although the community members are an important asset, they were not involved at the beginning stages of the project considering that the location was a brownfield site with no residents to engage with.

The Process

Collaborative "energy efficient" planning for the Trent Basin was used to bring together the technical expertise of key stakeholders with different specialisations and skills from city council, industry and academia. This contributed to shape the process by drawing from expert insights, accounting for a collective and multidimensional perspective, and shifting towards attaining affordable as well as energy efficient homes within resilient communities.

Existing Dynamics

Nottingham City Council (NCC) as part of Igloo Blueprint was trying to find a viable solution to commence the regeneration of the area. One of the major aspects affecting the regeneration were the high land prices. Thus, high-rise apartment buildings were the most viable solution. Nevertheless, the city council promoted carefully crafted phases of neighbourhood building as a more appropriate viable solution.


The long process to obtain approval on the planning process and applications was a major obstacle for the project. However, the team was able to present a concrete proposal that was well received, which led to the provision of the application of the next phases of the project.


The project comprised of diverse resources, the human capacity resources coming from different professions ranging from university researchers to professional practitioners. This diversity has helped the project achieve the needed objectives. Availability of the location in Trent Basin and the willingness of both the city council and the developers has facilitated the realisation of the regeneration concept.

Strokes of Luck 

Previous collaboration between participants such as the UoN and Igloo Blueprint enabled building mutually beneficial relationships.

The Achievements

Short-term Results

The achievement of a smart community energy scheme with 350 homes, serving as a catalyst for change.

Long-term Benefits

As the project is still ongoing, long-term results are not yet achieved. Overall the project is gearing towards attaining affordable and energy efficient homes within resilient communities.

Key Lesson Learned

Lucelia Rodrigues, UoN:

"The project brought together technical expertise of key stakeholders from local authority, industry and academia with different specialisations and skills. This has helped to shape the process by drawing from expert insights and accounting for a collective and multidimensional perspective. This approach of collaborative planning showed its benefits in maximising results, hence it could be useful to apply the same approach in different locations."