Property regeneration or placemaking, summarises the comprehensive application to the planning, design and management of spaces where communities live, work and play.

Due to the many diverse elements of these projects and the scope of possible benefits to the local community, both socially, economically and environmentally, transforming these larger spaces typically brings an increased wider interest compared to a regular build project.

From the regeneration of a brownfield site that may have lain derelict for several years to the redevelopment of existing buildings, you can be sure that the eyes of the local area will be keeping a close eye on proceedings.

Whether you’re a developer, contractor or consultant, the significance of a good property regeneration PR strategy, will enable you to both dictate and time the messages you want to communicate, building your credibility all the while.

Here are six key considerations you should make when promoting your next property regeneration project:

Engage early with stakeholders

Having a clear and open dialogue with local authorities and businesses will help you to establish relationships, driving the key messaging of the benefits of the project to those who may have doubts or reservations. Stakeholder mapping is an important tool enabling you to visualise the network of people with varying power and interest over the site who you should be engaging with.

Conducting engagement sessions are a great way to communicate face-to-face with organisations that have a vested interest and make their voices feel heard. While these don’t have to be in a consultation capacity, they are a great opportunity to gauge public sentiment from a cross section of the community, gathering ideas to feed back to the board that can modify existing and inform future planning.

Reach out to local businesses, third sector organisations and people with specific interests – such as biodiversity, active mobility and inclusion – for a rounded stakeholder engagement approach.

Under promise and over deliver

Ensure that your team and project partners are clear on what details you deem to be realistic project outcomes and are happy to disclose. The overpromising on timescales and deliverables will put you in the firing line for questioning from the local community and journalists who have done their research – don’t make sweeping statements for soundbites.

Build a hard and soft messaging document outlining the key elements of the project and wider purposes, making sure employees readily have a copy for reference when speaking with stakeholders or receiving enquiries. This will be a dynamic resource that will evolve as a project progresses.

ESG Strategy

ESG criteria are hugely influential for organisations that use funds to develop neighbourhoods. The UK government’s commitment to meeting net zero by 2050 presents a massive challenge for the construction sector. According to a 2022 study, key motivations behind ESG in property development are the opportunities for greater returns in the long term and the reduction of risk.

As a driving force for modern consumer interest, in the context of placemaking projects, being consistent with communicating social value commitments can sway community sentiment. 

If a company’s policies on ESG matters do not align with accepted standards they can be presented with very real risks, from reputational damage, difficulties with recruitment, and even the prospect of reduced access to funding.

Community Relations

Be aware that the heritage of a site may be of personal significance to people in the community who have witnessed the area fall into disrepair despite its potential, or may involve development on greenfield land over which local people may feel protective.

Planning for placemaking projects such as sustainable urban extensions – which typically require at least some development to take place on greenfield land – can be complicated and complex, especially for local communities, so it’s important you establish a strong presence and reputation.

Years of false expectations from developers promising transformations and then not delivering, can create a precedent of contempt toward property regeneration plans. This is your opportunity to show the community what you are planning, and to make your project feel real. Generate boots on the ground, starting on site and engage with the community, this type of public relations for property developers will help to build confidence. Presenting evidence on how your project is different to what has come in the past, and the wider benefits it will bring to the community, will reap you long term rewards.

Crisis Communications Strategy

Crisis communications is about being prepared and proactive when it comes to a threatening property public relations crisis – something all organisations are vulnerable to.

If the project is likely to disrupt surrounding infrastructure or local community facilities, you can expect criticism, and distrust, so always be prepared to write a statement that can be issued promptly. Keep your ears to the ground and quickly communicate that you are aware of the problems as turning a blind eye can become a negative sentiment.

Maintaining close relationships with journalists is key to ensuring that you can provide a comment. Make sure statements are used in full and cannot be taken out of context. Since you have a right of reply of 24 hours to provide a response to the issue, so make your intentions clear straight away.

Property Regeneration PR Agency – Sector Leading Services

Communicating positive messages about anything from investment yields, to strong health and safety records, along with insights into new developments and schemes, we are a trusted, long-term partner to a wide range of organisations including developers, construction firms, consultants, local authorities and investors.

Covering communications consultancy, campaigns and design and content projects, we provide a wide range of specialist services to help our clients solve big business challenges, build relationships, enhance their reputation and inspire their employees.

A Property PR Agency dedicated to the housing sector, find out more about how Proper PR can elevate your next placemaking project with expert Property Regeneration PR Services.

We know where to go and where to take you.