Impact Report 2023: A multiplicity of voices

Thomas Aquilina and Lily Moodey

05 March 2024

Preparing our first Impact Report covering 2022 inspired a robust period of self-reflection across the team. We tested ways of measuring our actions and impacts. We discussed and selected indicators of change that mattered to us. We imagined how we could do better. We then did it all again to assess our progress and understand our shortcomings.

Along the way, it became clear that this collective way of doing things should narrate our 2023 Impact Report.

After a full day of collective team reflection on impact, Thomas Aquilina joins Impact Champion, Lily Moodey, to share his perspective on the impact detailed in this report. In doing so, he draws out some of the less tangible spaces and places where our 2023 impact can be found.

Guided by Thomas Aquilina, film maker Dion Barrett captured the team's insights through a series of conversations and interviews.

“A material part of my role is to have us return to the fundamentals and question, think further, about key terms or ideas that we get behind and that galvanise our sense of practice. We cannot take for granted ideas around public good or impact or engagement.”
Thomas Aquilina, Associate

Deepening relationships in the places where we work

2023 brought unprecedented challenges to the places in which we’ve worked - from the worsening climate crisis and widening social inequality, to declining participation. Throughout this period, our clients and collaborators trusted us to deliver innovative and engaged responses to these challenges.

This year we have deepened our relationships within London, the West Midlands, the North West, and a number of coastal towns. We have delivered activity that builds on a track record of meaningful change from Croydon to Wolverhampton to Rochdale, working in 27 high streets and town centres across the UK.

This Impact Report reflects on our work in 2023 across:

  • 15 urban research studies
  • 21 strategies and masterplans
  • 20 public spaces and buildings
  • 5 design advocacy roles

The places where we’ve worked in 2023

Impact is viewed across the team through multiple lenses. In a practice-wide conversation, we considered our impact across these various dimensions: temporal, community, process, scale, ethics, theory, research, politics and movements.

This report looks to address impact in a more rigorous way - to go beyond numbers and statistics, to think about impact in more intangible places. It is to understand impact less about a final outcome, but more as something that is work-in- progress and that is delivered in multiple ways on an everyday basis.

Building in time for collective team reflection on impact has felt like a natural progression in our impact reporting. Our moments together – gathered in front of pin-up boards, sketching around a table and over coffee in the kitchen – revealed that ambition animates our team’s work making better places for people and the environment. Together we saw how our common ambitions for impact – including championing the voices with the least power in the process – cut across not only the strands of our work, but also our practice operations and governance.

Picking up these different lenses and examining our impact through them has brought into focus some areas in which it is clear we can also do better.

The Cedar Yards Community & Creative Campus is comprised of a series of four related projects at the historic Chiswick House and Gardens exceeding environmental targets in a heritage setting

“Capturing our successes, owning our shortcomings, and renewing our commitments together. This is an ongoing process that we look forward to sharing with you.”
Lily Moodey, Impact Champion, looks ahead