In 2016, Barnwood Trust, Bromford and Cheltenham Borough Homes (with support from Cheltenham Brough Council) published the “Welcome to the Future” report.

This is an introductory resource for all those involved in planning, designing, developing or managing housing. The focus is on understanding the essential building blocks of communities that are vibrant, inclusive and socially sustainable.

The toolkit content has been developed after discussions with a range of different stakeholders from different sectors and parts of the county. A group came together in a workshop in May 2018, and individual interviews supplemented their insights.

The county of Gloucestershire includes different areas and communities, from the more remote edges of the Forest of Dean to Cotswold villages and market towns.

Gloucestershire overall may be affluent but there are pockets of deprivation within larger towns, particularly Cheltenham and Gloucester, and in rural villages. We also know that local factors have a big impact on attitudes to development.

View our page – Understanding Gloucestershire

The social dimensions of new housing developments and placemaking


This dimension captures the services and spaces that are needed to support individual wellbeing and collective community life. It includes amenities and support services – from schools, to public spaces, transport and community workers – that meet the needs of all the groups in the neighbourhood and that encourage people from different backgrounds to meet.


This focuses on the extent to which residents feel they have control over the environment in which they live. It includes governance structures that enable residents to participate in local decision-making and stewardship, and residents ability to take action to change the places they live and to shape places for the future.


This is about the less tangible elements of local life, such as neighbourliness, trust, a sense of place, feelings of safety and the relationships between different groups. It includes the collective activities and social architecture to foster local networks, belonging and community identity.


This describes the capacity of places to adapt to changing needs, circumstances and populations. It includes flexible planning so that housing, infrastructure and services can adapt over time, as well as flexible uses of buildings and public space.

Using the toolkit

Find out about the concept of Social Sustainability and how it can be used to plan and design new schemes and initiatives.

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Explore the Community Ingredients section to understand what it takes to create the conditions for social sustainability.

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Explore the Case Studies of new housing developments from around the UK that are finding innovative ways to promote social sustainability.

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Explore the case studies


Churcham is a small development of seven new houses on a Rural Exception Site in Churcham…

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The Malings

The Malings is a housing scheme that combines traditional community values…

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Abode Housing

Abode at Great Kneighton is a flagship development for Cambridge City Council…

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View all of the case studies