Circle Insights

Defining ‘perfectly balanced’ places to live through Six Pillars of Success

Tolga Necar

What makes a place ‘perfectly balanced’?  

Only 1.5% of locations across the UK can be described as balanced across all pillars. We set out to find these locations and determine what sets them apart in our report, “Six Pillars of Success: Building Resilient Places”, where we explored locations across the UK that are “balanced” in all six of CACI’s property pillars that contribute to the resilience of both community and place. Over 5,000 locations across the UK were assessed in this report, of which only 77 were considered balanced across all pillars.

Interestingly, only 1 in 20 regional towns in the UK are balanced. This demonstrates that despite achieving perfect balance in some places, there is still a lot that can be done for places to enhance their community engagement. 

In this blog series, we’ll uncover the defining criteria for ‘perfectly balanced’ places and find out how these communities’ tactics can be applied to other locations across the UK.

Pillar 1: Representation & proper sizing of independent & chain retailers

Having retailers that ensure a return on investment for occupiers and effectively appeal to locals’ needs along with proper leasing of a retailer in terms of its tenant line-up are critical to an area’s success. A ‘perfectly balanced’ place achieves a balance between chain retailers to boutique shops and independent retailers by understanding the core of their community’s personalities and values and reflecting that in the area’s retailers.  

Pillar 2: Uniquely tailored offline experiences

Unique offline experiences are ones that are only available in person and cannot be replicated at home. A place that is ‘perfectly balanced’ will host things to see and do for customers to do in person that come with halo benefits and contribute to the overall liveliness of the area and can only be experienced in person. The results will be achieved through an uptake of dwell time, varied footfall patterns, greater customer spending and more.  

Pillar 3: Engaging community infrastructure

The types of amenities and services offered in an area can play a vital role in enhancing social value and community engagement. A ‘perfectly balanced’ place has optimised its relationship between supply and demand across amenities to help commercial landlords plug gaps within the community and reinforce social value.  

Pillar 4: Support social cohesion through optimised residential design

A lack of suitable housing can be damaging for an area. ‘Perfectly balanced’ places optimise their residential design to positively influence the community and create long-term value, income and footfall for developers. These places typically feature residential units that closely align with the needs of the community and offer the right types, tenures, sizes and price points to fill supply gaps

Pillar 5: Sufficient & accessible work opportunities for the local population

Communities need job opportunities for those looking for employment. Acute un- and under-employment can be damaging on both an individual and community-wide basis. In our post-pandemic world, 29% of the UK population work in hybrid roles, allowing them the option of splitting their work week between the office and home. A ‘perfectly balanced’ place offers working opportunities that reflect the demand levels of the area and increasingly include collaborative, co-working spaces.  

Pillar 6: Appealing open spaces for the community to dwell in

To drive footfall to a location, a ‘perfectly balanced’ place draws people into spending their leisure time there. It will be conveniently located, offer appealing services and amenities and encourage dwelling and exploring. With an increased interest in greening urban environments and finding pockets of greenery in even the most unexpected spots, ‘perfectly balanced’ places will offer luscious open spaces that are built sustainably and encourage biodiversity and carbon capture. 

Stay tuned for our upcoming blog featuring the first two of our top five ‘perfectly balanced’ places to live. 

To learn how our six property pillars can help ensure you are creating resilient places, please speak to one of our Placemaking and Property experts.

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Tolga Necar