5 years of Place Alliance

2014-2019

The purpose of this report has been to examine the work and impact of Place Alliance after five years of work, between 2014 and 2019. The review aimed to answer the question – What has been the impact of the Place Alliance on the place quality agenda in England (and beyond)?

The evaluation considered three primary areas of work (1) Evidence (research and audit work) (2) Knowledge (guidance production and skills enhancement work) and (3) Promotion (challenging existing practice and connecting stakeholders).

The evaluation utilised a range of approaches to understand the work and impact of the Place Alliance. These included interviews with partners and observations of Place Alliance initiatives as well as analysis of a range of project documents and reports.

We hope you enjoy the Place Alliance’s journey!

Summary of Impact

Over its five years, the Place Alliance has made seven primary contributions. 

Place Alliance acts as a knowledge broker, helping to translate and amplify messages arising from its research, collaborations and communications activities, enabling them to reach policy-makers, practitioners and other audiences. In doing so it has helped to keep place quality on the national agenda at a time of austerity and disengagement across the country and is significantly implicated in the national revival in interest in this field since 2018.

The award of the Sir Peter Hall Award for Wider Engagement by the Royal Town Planning Institute in 2016, and the Association of European Schools of Planning Best Published Paper for the underpinning research, both confirm the importance of this initiative.

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“Place Alliance reminds us of the wider
purpose of urban design. Place Alliance
provides objective evidence for our work.”

Anonymous comment
Big Meet 9

The Underpinning Research

The Place Alliance began with Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) research project AH/J013706/1: Evaluating the governance of design in the built environment – the CABE experiment and beyond, conducted between January 2013 and August 2014. The underpinning research, published in peer-reviewed journals and a book, both informs and
has been informed by the Place Alliance initiative.

Place Alliance Initiatives

Place Alliance initiatives encompass a range of actions and tools, from evidence reports, practical guides, campaigns, networking events, to conferences. Place Alliance plays an active role in supporting the network by organising design training for public sector professionals and facilitating cross-disciplinary working groups as a space to organise specific areas for action. Place Alliance influences policy by participating in a collective campaigning effort and by generating evidence to inform the work of key decisionmakers.

Tracing the Place Alliance network

In order the evaluate the reach and impact of the Place Alliance, a network analysis was conducted aiming to identify all the stakeholders or interest groups within the Place Alliance’s stakeholder network.

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“Place Alliance provides a forum for learning and sharing best practice.”

Jacinta Tylor
Urban Design Officer
Cheshire East Council

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“Place Alliance supported the growth of the Art +Place consortium, which enabled BEAM to connect with the wider sector and relevant organizations.”

Kate Watson
Principal consultant
Beam

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“Place Alliance ensures that placemaking has a high profile on the public agenda”.

Mark Pearson
Design Action Devon and Cornwall