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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 123 - Creating a web-based tool to deliver sustainable communities

123 - Inspire East Excellence Framework

Inspire East is a Regional Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Communities in the East of England. Its aim is to deliver the knowledge, skills and advice that will inspire the use and application of best practice in the development of sustainable communities. Working with the Building Research Establishment, Inspire East has created an excellence framework, a web-based tool, which provides guidance on achieving excellence in sustainable communities in the East of England.

Adopted by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) as the basis of its Quality Standards for all projects from 1st January 2008, the Excellence Framework provides a practical way of improving the quality of all types of projects. It encourages a more holistic view of development and regeneration projects and includes a set of specific standards, supported by links to advice and case studies. EEDA now requires all new projects to meet good and excellent standards across the whole Sustainable Communities agenda.

The excellence framework is based on eight components which are required in order to plan, deliver and maintain sustainable communities: social and cultural, governance, transport and connectivity, services, environmental, equity, economy, and housing and built environment. For each of these, there is a checklist of basic considerations projects should address.

Depending on local circumstances, there might be a trade-off in the short-term of the priority given to different components, but in the longer term all components must be addressed to ensure that a community is sustainable.

The Inspire East Excellence Framework has been tested by a number of organisations including the Building Research Establishment. It is intended to be used in the following ways:

  • As a signposting tool for advice and information
  • To look for minimum and excellent standards, case studies and best practice
  • To appraise the quality of projects
  • To evaluate the success of projects.

One of the earliest applications of the Excellence Framework was the review of the Colchester Community Football Stadium project by Colchester Borough Council. The Excellence Framework highlighted strengths in current plans (in particular match day travel and community engagement), which
has resulted in positive steps by the Council to improve environmental standards.

Other Information

  • Location: Eastern England
  • Project Team: Inspire East, the Building Research Establishment, East of England Development Agency
  • Contact:


UDC2 Section - Sowing the Seedg the Seed  

Inspire East Excellence Framework found at was established as a tool to provide advice and information, case studies and best practice information and an appraisal and evaluation process. It sets out eight components that are intended to assist with the planning, delivery and maintenance of sustainable communities.

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