Social Sustainability Toolkit: inclusive design

The Social Sustainability Toolkit was developed by Sensory Trust and Eden Project to integrate inclusive design in all stages of the design and construction process for capital builds, from initial plans through to completion and building use. It makes a complex set of requirements as straightforward as possible. Working through it helps fulfil statutory obligations and ensure a high quality, fully accessible capital build.

Sustainable development should address broader concerns than just environmental issues but typically building assessment systems focus on environmental performance such as energy efficiency. We developed the Social Sustainability Toolkit to assess social criteria, helping ensure that buildings are fit for purpose and provide maximum value and usability. The toolkit has been used to guide the construction of a public education centre at the Eden Project and new enterprise and University campus buildings in Cornwall.

The toolkit provides a practical guide to inclusive design for built environment professionals and all those involved in the commissioning, planning, design, construction and evaluation of capital build projects. Use of the toolkit is now a requirement of the European funding programme for new capital build in south west UK.

Using the toolkit we can provide:

  • advice on inclusive design aspects at any stage of the design and build process
  • assistance with completing a Social Sustainability Toolkit
  • design crits where design teams can share and review ideas
  • on-site reviews
  • community engagement to add to the inclusive design process

Examples of our work

The Core, Eden Project, Cornwall
Client: Eden Project

Sensory Trust was involved from the earliest stages of the design and build of Eden's new education centre, the Core, integrating inclusive design within all phases, from initial concept through design and build to occupancy and management. This work provided the basis for the development of the Social Sustainability Toolkit.

Pool Innovation Centre (PIC), Pool, Cornwall
Client: PIC

Sensory Trust ran an inclusive design session with the design team and advised on the use of the Social Sustainability Toolkit.

Tremough Innovation Centre (TIC), Falmouth
Client: TIC

Sensory Trust undertook a post-occupancy review of the Tremough Innovation Centre to identify aspects that would enhance usability by disabled people. The findings were used to inform the design and subsequent build of the Health and Wellbing Innovation Centre.

Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre (HWIC), Truro
Client: HWIC

Sensory Trust undertook a review of the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre near the end of the construction phase to advise the client on aspects to enhance usability by disabled people.

Eden Project's Core building provided a focus for the Social Sustainability Toolkit Design team using the Social Sustainability Toolkit