Inverkeithing: Building quality, trust and community
Kingdom Housing Association’s highly praised phased regeneration project in Inverkeithing is replacing 234 flatted homes in three-storey blocks with 189 houses and apartments over a phased redevelopment programme. Central to the project approach has been to engage tenants and local residents in the design and decision-making process.
Involving people was seen as vital to nurture a new sense of ownership, particularly because tenants were facing the uncertainty not only of demolition and new build, but also a change in landlord from the local authority to the Housing Association. As well as giving tenants the opportunity to feed into the design, the Housing Association wanted to build relationships and trust with their new tenants, and make sure that they were ready to move into their new homes. To achieve this, a range of activities were carried out with the Council and main contractor including construction academies to create employment and training opportunities, financial advice, tenancy support, site visits, street renaming and a logo competition for the project identity.
To engage with as many people as possible, the Housing Association communicated using a range of methods over a number of years: newsletters, social media, open days, community memories and textile projects, schools engagement, bus tours, a dedicated webpage and social media platforms, a 3D model to help people visualise the plans, and individual tenant visits. Using the correct communications and getting the timings right was an important focus for the project team. The local community chose the new site layout from a series of three options. Returning tenants were then involved in the detailed design of their new homes, and quite a number had specific needs in terms of family size or disabled needs. #
Benefits and lessons learned
The process took time, commitment and patience on the part of the Housing Association to make sure that the new homes would make a difference for new tenants and the community. The regeneration work so far has energised the community, broken with the stigma of the past, built trust, and created a place and homes that people are proud of.