Community Regeneration Partnership Expertise in Urban Renewal
  • May

    Audit Commission Evaluation of Community Base (C~Base)

    In March 2008 the C~Base flythrough model was evaluated by The Audit Commission and recognised as an example of Innovation and Good Practice in Regenerating Communities. CRP are a key member of the C~Base team and have pioneered the use of the flythrough model in the City Waterside area of Stoke on Trent as part of the RENEW Housing Market Renewal Area.  The full evaluation of the model is set out below:-

    Audit Commission Evaluation of C~Base Model

    Case Study – 3D Modelling
    Description of project
    This case study looks at the development of a 3 dimensional flythrough planning tool which incorporates a costing model, and related aspects used as an element in producing and implementing a neighbourhood plan and allowing interactive street level flythrough which encourages good community engagement.
    The problem
    Within RENEW North Staffordshire’s city centre south area of major intervention is the Wellington Street neighbourhood. On the edge of the city centre, the area covers around 900 traditional Victorian terraced houses of mixed tenure. Property conditions are variable, with poor underlying ground quality allied to structural instability, dampness and disrepair.

    RENEW intervention will see the clearance of around one third of the houses over the next three years, and investment in the public realm and exteriors of retained properties to create market uplift. All cleared land is to be redeveloped for new housing and new green space.

    The computerised 3D flythrough planning tool enabled the local community to readily visualise such radical change. It also allowed them to be directly involved in making informed choices from a range of costed interventions relating to positive investment which are all aimed at achieving RENEW’s objectives.
    How the work developed
    Private consultants CommunityBASE (C-BASE) were engaged to work with the community in the area using the 3D model which was continually enhanced in conjunction with RENEW.  C-BASE’s model is a tool used as part of their commission to produce a neighbourhood plan for the wider area by October 2007.  Delivery on the ground is via RENEW’s registered social landlord partner Beth Johnson Housing Association.

    Practical hands-on drop in sessions for residents using a laptop computer were held at the local community centre focusing initially on the retained Seymour Street area (approx 240 premises).  The results of this work have fed in to major planned investment from RENEW for completion in March 2008.
    The outputs from this work
    The Seymour Street area has provided a practical example for the 3D tool to be piloted on.  Data capture of the numerous house designs, topography generation and aerial mapping of historic features and local context have all been added as part of the development process.  A true flythrough has now been achieved so that a local resident can recognise their home, and can virtually walk around and fly above their neighbourhood to assess the impact their chosen options will have.

    Ecotec Consultants have carried out a rapid external evaluation and results are expected shortly.

    The impact of this work for the pathfinder area
    The 3D tool is practical in nature and can be easily understood by all.  The costing element is a major move forward in that communities are provided with a more informed appreciation that a ‘wish list’ must always be constrained by a budget, and that priorities must be set and agreed.  The modelling process has supported the pathfinder in finding radical interventions, through early engagement, continual support, and the empowerment of local residents so that they can be part of the decision making process.

    Physical interventions that can be visualised early are less likely to receive objections when practically implemented.

    Wider application and potential further development
    The 3D model is currently being used in retention and improvement work as part of the Wellington Street neighbourhood regeneration.  However, early work with the community, demonstrating how new housing would look on the large cleared sites or small infill plots in their area has been favourably received.  It is hoped to widen this work further with RENEW’s preferred developer for the area.

    The external flythrough graphic is now being linked to an internal house model that can calculate refurbishment costs for internal repairs and improvements, including conversions from two into one.  Inspection reports and schedules of works are linked through drop down menus.  Initial work has also started on mapping in house price data and market change data to the individual house or neighbourhood.

    There are likely to be many further markets for the tool for pathfinders and other regeneration agencies.

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