This is the process we are working through for the Gomm Valley

Is this a suitable place?
Assemble the ‘evidence of the land’, explore local needs and preferences and examine key constraints and opportunities: is this a suitable place for a sustainable development/community? Can it be a game-changer? What might help it/or prevent it from being a superb sustainable development?
Listen and communicate
Talk/listen to local and area-wide authorities and communities of interest.
Form a high level-working hypothesis
Prepare an indicative plan and capacity study and high-level appraisal: this becomes the working hypothesis for the place.
Identify the team
Identify designers, engineers and others to form the core of a customised bespoke professional team: what combination of talents will work best here?
Form a set of principles/drivers
Prepare a set of working principles or ‘drivers’ as part of the early brief for the new team: typically these are expressed in a project protocol.
Deep collaboration with professionals and stakeholders
Run a process of what we call ‘deep collaboration’ with all of the disciplines together – intensely and creatively; if stakeholders are enthusiastic we invite them to join in this as soon as we practically can.
Inspiration/ Precedents
We look carefully at relevant precedents – where has something great been done before that corresponds with the qualities and characteristics of this place? What inspires us?
Community design event
We aim to put on a place-based community design event – an upbeat, accessible and enjoyable and professional-run event akin to a mini-festival: from this we explore community ambition, interrogate local expertise, form lasting relationships, and, hopefully develop a shared vision and plan.
Iterative design process
After the engagement event there is a great deal of iterative professional work to plan the streets which always define the structure of a place, explore the appropriate ‘blocks’ of development – the layout - and identify some key moves in regard to green infrastructure such as parklands, woodland and water…Not much architecture as such is undertaken at this stage except to illustrate the potential feel the place.
Eventually we end up with a plan…after which we engage and consult formally again, listen and re-work parts of the project in response, where appropriate.
The final ‘draft’ place plan is then fully appraised economically, environmentally and socially – our IMPACT responsibility – then we proceed with a planning application.
Economic deliverability
While all of the above is underway we are examining the optimal way(s) to deliver the project should planning consent be granted. Every project is quite different but we look to assemble a blend of investment and development partners for bespoke elements to get the best results. We may also have a contractor partner on board early so that our assumptions in delivery and costing are seen to be robust.