Nottingham Trent University

Nottingham Trent University has been embedded within the city centre for over 150 years and boasts D. H. Lawrence as an alumnus. In early 2014 Nottingham Trent University (NTU) Estates and Resources' Team saw an opportunity to improve the experience of its students by identifying potential improvements to the City Campus that would help to enhance its sense of place and reconnect it with the wider city. They engaged P&DG to carry out an initial assessment of the built environment using ‘placecheck’ methodology, which was followed up by detailed market research and recording of footfall along key routes.

P&DG then formulated a draft vision for the regeneration of the Campus and started a dialogue with senior officers at Nottingham City Council (NCC). This highlighted the potential for a Place Leadership approach to delivering the joint ambitions of the city and University which would tie in with the City’s emerging aspirations for place-making through city 'quarters'.  The first step was to get all the right people talking together. 

P&DG is at the forefront of the Place Leadership agenda, encouraging authorities to work in partnership with ‘key anchor institutions’ such as universities and major employers, in order to implement their growth plans and to manage change and regeneration. As the two key landowners within the City Campus, NTU and NCC sought to embrace the opportunity to deliver collaborative change and to work together in resolving areas of challenge. Together, the teams, supported by P&DG, have devised a Place Leadership Accord to establish a set of mutually agreed aims and ways of working together.

The Development Accord is a memorandum of understanding based on a joint vision for the regeneration and development of the City Campus as a distinctive and vibrant area of the City. It recognises that the University and the City Council have a significant joint interest in the social, economic, cultural and educational development of the city. A city that has given its students a positive and fulfilling experience through their studies has a far better chance of retaining the best and brightest as key entrepreneurs and drivers in the knowledge economy. Working positively together to deliver environmental change will have far-reaching benefits that far exceed the cost of implementation.

While it focuses on development as a driver of change and improvement delivery, it recognises that there is a need to understand the links between the physical reality of places and everything else that contributes to the experience of that place. The Accord recognises the need to link and integrate different sectors, using the perspective of the people, living, working and passing through the City Campus as its starting point. It is not simply a matter of making the case for the built environment, it commits to mutual, active engagement in making innovative, positive things happen in a different way.