Worrisomely, I have been somewhat conflicted over the past few weeks. Academically and philosophically, I am engrossed in conjuring up a Keynote Address for an international conference in the autumn proselytising “A Commons Transition” in which a post-capitalist market and a more enlightened state are at the service of the citizens as commoners. Professionally and practically, I have been engaged, on behalf of a property development company, in disentangling the intricacies of the Social Value Act.
“Doing well by doing good” has long been a familiar dictum in both the ethical business and the responsible built environment milieux. Sometimes attributed to Benjamin Franklin, the phrase seems forever fashionable, yet remains remarkably vague. Its latest manifestation over recent years has been in the field of Social Value (SV), which has grown out of the thinking surrounding corporate responsibility, ethical economics, social enterprise and valuation.
All responsible parties to the process of urban development are becoming more keenly focused on ensuring ‘genuine’ value for money in the delivery of improvements to the built environment for everyone concerned. But it takes time, and the property industry is already finding it a lengthy, tortuous and formidable journey.
Real Estate Realities
Whilst recognising the growing need for better ways to account for social, economic and environmental value in framing property investment and development decisions, a range of issues worthy of consideration emerge regarding present practice. Some of these can best be summarised as follows: