Project Overview

This case study is featured in UKGBC’s report, A Guide for Delivering Social Value on Built Environment Projects.

White Collar Factory is an award-winning redevelopment of a major corner site on the Silicon Roundabout in the heart of the London’s Tech City. Construction was completed in 2017 and includes a new 16-storey 237,000 square foot office tower and low-rise campus buildings containing offices, retail, housing, and a new public square. Derwent London commissioned JLL to evaluate the socio-economic impact of White Collar Factory to understand the net impact (positive or negative) that the building has had on the local area and community.

What makes the project interesting? 

  • White Collar Factory is based in the London Borough of Islington, a borough with some areas of high deprivation (53rd most deprived borough in England). Local data demonstrated that there was a clear local need and an opportunity to have a positive social impact.
  • The project features several unique health and wellbeing initiatives including a running track.
  • Derwent London have committed to carrying out socio-economic impact assessments on all major projects once occupied. White Collar Factory was the first project where Derwent London investigated not only the development’s impact upon local stakeholders, but also measured occupier wellbeing. Also new to the assessment were insights from the alternative field of neuroscience.

Future considerations: 

Plans include projects that continue to build on the site’s integration to the local area and that bring businesses and local communities together, for example work experience and employment opportunities to showcase the sectors and companies that call this area home.

Approaches Used

JLL sought to understand the impact of White Collar Factory from the perspective of the stakeholders who experienced a significant change (positive or negative) as a result of the project. Identifying what changed for priority stakeholders helped JLL to move beyond traditional impact assessments that rely on output measures (e.g., number of workers) towards an assessment that focusses on outcome measures (e.g., improved quality of life scores or improved sense of place). The socioeconomic impact assessment focused on what value (if any) value the project has for the immediate neighbourhood and local stakeholders.

Identifying priority stakeholders

  • JLL began by brainstorming all potential stakeholders.
  • Priority stakeholders were then determined using a stakeholder prioritisation exercise to assess the influence each stakeholder has over the building (e.g., the extent to which they can influence the continued operation of the building) and the extent the building has an impact on them (e.g., livelihood or delivery of services). This exercise used a scale of 1 to 5 to provide a score.

Put in place a social value measurement framework

  • With priority stakeholders established, Envoy Partnership supported JLL to conduct an urban design and impact analysis to assess the buildings fit and sensitivity to the urban fabric of the local neighbourhood. This was complimented by qualitative interviews and surveys with residents, workers, and local businesses.

Key Sustainability Objectives/ Outcomes

Derwent London agreed four priority social value outcomes for the scheme:

  • Support local prosperity.
  • Create employment and training opportunities for local people.
  • Have a positive impact on the wellbeing of tenants and the local community.
  • Create net positive impact on the community.

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