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Key prize awarded to academic paper focusing on place-making in Nottingham

An academic paper which shines the light on the importance of partnerships and social value in the social, environmental, and economic life of Nottingham has won an internationally significant award.

Co-creating social value in placemaking: the grand balancing act has won the Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) Richard Trevithick Fund Prize 2023.

The prize is awarded annually for the best paper published by authors from both industry and academia on a sustainability topic that is judged to be of exceptional quality and impact to the civil engineering, construction, and materials science communities.

The paper, which was published in the journal Engineering Sustainability, highlights how Nottingham is an exemplar city in terms of social value in the built environment – with different agents, such as design and planning professionals, engineering and construction professionals and workers, trades, facilities management providers and their personnel, and community groups and their members all working together in partnership to support sustainability.

Kevin Osbon, founder partner at Nottingham-based multi-disciplinary consultancy Focus, which works in the construction and sustainability sectors, and who was one of the authors of the paper, said: “The Richard Trevithick Fund Prize is a prestigious award. I, along with my colleagues at Focus, are proud and delighted that this paper, which focuses on Nottingham as a case study and exemplar model of partnerships and social value, has been recognised in this way.

“Focus was founded in Nottingham almost 30 years ago and social value has always been at the heart of what we do. We are keen to give back to the communities we serve and are passionate about supporting education and training, using local supply chains, employing local staff, and supporting good causes. We recognise the importance of sustainability and partnerships, and the valuable place they take in the social, environmental, and economic life of a community.”

The paper’s authors were Ani Raiden, Associate Professor in Responsible Management at Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University, Andrew King, workplace tutor at Nottingham Trent University, Sir John Peace, chairman of the Midlands Engine Executive Board, Sophia de Sousa, chief executive of the Glass-House Community Led Design, and Laura Alvarez, senior principal urban design and conservation officer at Nottingham City Council, plus Kevin Osbon, who is also a senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, a stakeholder in Nottinghamshire-based MES Building Solutions and a Director of MOS Properties Incorporated.

A member of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), the Institute of Economic Development (IED) and the Association of Project Managers (APM), Kevin previously contributed to a chapter in Social Value in Practice, a Routledge publication written and edited by Ani Raiden and Andrew King, which offers a simple guide for considering, creating and delivering social value in projects and within organisations.

The award-winning paper Co-creating social value in placemaking: the grand balancing act features insights from the different stakeholders, all directly involved with placemaking, including Sir John Peace, as a regional strategic influencer, a professional consultancy firm, represented by Kevin Osbon, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the design of their places, represented by Sophia de Sousa, and a city council (urban design) office, represented by Laura Alvarez. The authors describe their activities relating to creating social value through placemaking and how it relates to United Nations (UN) global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The team of authors of Co-creating social value in placemaking: the grand balancing act picked up the Richard Trevithick Fund Prize at the ICE Awards ceremony in London held on 13th October 2023.