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BID leads on development of Waterloo placemaking strategy

Leake Street
Street art in Leake Street arches, Waterloo

Iain Nicholson writes about IPM's recent visit to Waterloo


“We are a very action-oriented BID, and we wanted to ensure that our projects were being planned out thoroughly and strategically. Alongside that, we had also recently become attuned to the rising popularity - and importance of - placemaking in long-term project planning thanks to our close partnership with the IPM.”

That’s Natalie Raben, Chief Executive of WeAreWaterloo BID which has recently launched a placemaking strategy for its district, and hosted members of the Institute of Place Management team on a case study visit as part of its development of a new High Street Viability Index tool for place leaders and managers.

Over 150 place-based projects

As the BID describes it, the strategy segments Waterloo into distinct areas and proposes more than 150 different public realm and place activation-based projects that are designed to make Waterloo a more enjoyable place to work, live and visit. It is designed to live on through change in the area and will help shape the development of Waterloo long-term by providing the BID and other local institutions with a framework for action and intervention.

Waterloo is part of two different London council areas - Lambeth and Southwark and, says IPM Chair, Professor Cathy Parker: “One of the things that makes the WeAreWaterloo placemaking strategy such an intriguing case study is that this is typically an initiative that a local authority would lead on.

“It was fascinating for us - while we’re developing the new viability tool - to learn from the BID team about why they took on the role and how they’ve approached it.

“Importantly we’re committed to staying in touch as projects develop and to see where there are practical benefits to a BID leading, and if there are areas where that makes it harder to deliver. That means there’s much to learn from this process for our BID Foundation members but also individual and partner IPM members in local authorities.”

Natalie says: “We started by first creating a project brief which was influenced by knowledge gained through the IPM’s MSc programme, specifically regarding experiment design.

“A placemaking steering group was then formed and interviews were held which is how we selected our winning consultants, Allies & Morrison.

“A&M hit the ground running and segmented their approach into three different phases: gather information, testing propositions, and then presenting the strategy. After five glorious months the strategy went live and we’re now engaging our stakeholders for feedback on which projects they’d like to see us tackle first.”

You can find the BID document here:

Do please also take the opportunity to review the new High Street Viability Index tool, and let us have your feedback to


About the author


Formed in 2006, the Institute of Place Management is the international professional body that supports people committed to developing, managing and making places better.

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