Local context is the

foundation for all our work


Traditionally, consultants have delivered projects for clients. We can do that and we’ll do a good job. Even better, though, we like to deliver projects with our clients, working with you to produce solutions that you feel ownership of. This way, you get better value and the results are more sustainable.


Various Locations
2000 and ongoing

Outline Brief:
Placechecks are a key part of community and stakeholder engagement in many of our projects. It is a simple and very effective method through which any place and the challenges, issues and potentials relating to it can be understood.

Our Methodology:
Originally developed in 1998 the methodology for Placechecks has been refined over the years through trials in communities around Britain. Steve Kemp led one of these trials in Lincoln and it has been central to much of his work ever since.

Placecheck begins by asking three basic questions:

  • What do you like about this place?
  • What do you dislike about this place?
  • What needs improving?

Those top-level questions are supplemented by further, detailed questions which help the Placecheckers to understand the particular likes and dislikes of a place and how it might be improved. This method is designed to be simple so that it can be used by ordinary people and communities to produce powerful insights into their local environment. We are very proud to have played a part in the development of Placecheck and we love helping communities to use it. To find out more visit the official Placecheck website for more information.

Eureka moments:
Lincoln South High Street Placecheck
Viewing a place through the clear eyes and uncluttered mind of a child can be very informative. This project involved junior school children taking photos of everything they liked and disliked in their area. Working in groups they presented their findings to their parents who could see what their kids thought about where they lived. Many of the observations and suggestions the children made on day one featured in the final report.

Bethnal Green (London)
Placecheck provides a great forum for understanding other people’s perceptions and developing a shared vision. In an ethnically and culturally diverse community such as Bethnal Green, where recent immigrants live alongside longtime residents, Placechecking helped show how people from different cultures see aspects of the same place quite differently. Something that one person is comfortable with, another person can find intimidating.

Port of Spain (Trinidad) Placecheck
In Placecheck, the primary role of the professional planner or urban designer is to facilitate, advise and interpret. During Placechecks in Port of Spain bringing together an outsider’s perceptions and local people’s knowledge produced some very interesting insights and enabled everyone involved to see familiar places through fresh eyes.

What’s happened since?
Each Placecheck produces new insights and raises new issues and questions. By facilitating Placechecks in so many different places and with so many different groups, our own understanding of places is constantly evolving. We are then able to share this accumulating knowledge with all the clients and communities with whom we work.