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Shaping the Heart of Nottingham Waterside – Trent Basin, Nottingham - Blueprint with Deetu

Local communities and stakeholders reached by social media, QR code posters, letter drops and leaflets to gain feedback through digital engagement on the redevelopment of Nottingham’s waterside, with the design team amending the masterplan based on community-sourced evidence.

Who is the developer/client of the project?



Describe the context of this project in 250 words max. and please upload any image, drawings or reports that explain the initiative.


A parking barn, an accessible water basin, community courtyards, creative industrial spaces, and people-friendly public spaces. These concepts in isolation are nothing new, but when combined into one masterplan, they challenge the local norm and look to create a 21st-century neighbourhood fit for future sustainable family living.

This once in a lifetime opportunity to shape the urban regeneration of Nottingham’s waterside led to a revolutionary, digital-first stakeholder engagement exercise that increased meaningful participation by 1500%.

Rather than being constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic, sustainable developer Blueprint took the opportunity to rethink the traditional engagement methodology, providing a truly inclusive, anytime, and anywhere consultation using real community evidence to influence its design.

The use of innovative, interactive tools, combined with powerful data analytics and an emphasis on youth-friendly content, ensured that a remarkably diverse audience, including those seldom heard, was consulted during a multi-stage, irrefutably transparent engagement campaign.

Creating a sense of social wellbeing was key within this defiantly thorough engagement. It wasn’t just a case of ticking a box of support; it was about ensuring people knew that their opinions would genuinely make a difference to the future of their community. This was mirrored in a specific youth engagement exercise that ensured the views of those seldom heard was being listened to. In fact, one youth engagement participant said:

“I never thought I’d meet an architect, and I never thought anyone would ask me what I wanted like this.”



How does this project enable the community to make a meaningful contribution to a place? 250 words max. Please attach an image or other documentation of the project, or context, that supports your statement.


Rather than being constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic, the team took the opportunity to rethink the traditional methodology and show an exemplary level of engagement with the public.

The first step was to gain a comprehensive understanding of the local community to better engage with them. To do this, the engagement team used data analytics to segment their stakeholders, creating defined personas and audiences.

Secondly, using the defined personas and audiences, the engagement team curated audience-specific content to reach a broad spectrum of stakeholders and form a diverse evidence base.

At the core of their engagement strategy was a series of digital tools adapted to reflect each specific audience’s required language complexity and technical understanding whilst still being consistent in their critical messaging.

Audiences were made aware of the consultation through a social media campaign, QR code posters, Facebook Groups, press releases, alongside a local letter drop and a more comprehensive leaflet distribution.

A series of youth engagement exercises and site walkovers were undertaken using the Voice, Opportunity, Power toolkit to capture future generations’ ideas and views.

Thirdly, by undertaking continuous engagement throughout the design process, the team amended the masterplan based on real community-sourced evidence.

This new approach resulted in a 1500% increase in participation compared to the engagement on previous development phases and an overall approval rating of 94%.


How will the community engagement be taken forward? Have you actively responded to their contribution and continued the conversation, facilitating their continued involvement? 250 words max. Please attach an image of the project that supports your statement.


The iterative design process, based on the diverse feedback collated throughout this engagement exercise, allows the project team to adapt their plans and contest traditional planning assumptions. They are pushing the boundaries of what was perceived as acceptable to the public and creating a genuinely community-driven design.

The contribution from the public not only supported the sustainable principles of the environmentally led design; it pushed for more green space around the basin, more planting in the courtyards and more people-friendly zones. All of which are being incorporated into the final plans.

Keen to build a local community and continue the conversations about how they will use the area, stakeholders are continuously engaging with the design process through the digital engagement tools, virtual town hall briefings and Q&A sessions.

Blueprint wants Trent Basin to be the heart of this new community, innovatively designed to meet the current and future communities’ needs. From the beginning, this engagement was not just about gathering one-way feedback or even holding a two-way dialogue. It is about actively creating authentic, multi-faceted conversations in the community.

It is tying together businesses like Nottingham Bikeworks with local studios One Thorseby Street in Makers Yard. It is opening a dialogue between Olympic athlete-hosting Flo Skatepark and Whole Health Triathlon Club about the basin’s future.

It is becoming the catalyst of conversation for local entrepreneurs to open their own Dojo and community parents to discuss how their children could make the best use of the space in Basin Park.



Please share any reports, news clippings, data or figures that support your entry, for example reach, news clippings, reports. You may also attach an additional image or document to support your entry.


Supporting Document PDF uploaded with key stats and figures.

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Shortlisted for Community Engagement - The Pineapples Awards 2021



  • 12-16 JULY, 2021
  • Online event
  • Airmeet


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