Accessibility links

Top Navigation

Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 082 - Encouraging community cohesion

082 - Summerfield Residents Association

Summerfield is a culturally diverse inner-city of area of Birmingham which by the 1990s was suffering social, economical and physical decline. The Summerfield Residents Association (SRA) has been at the forefront of a reversal of the area’s fortunes and helped create a neighbourhood where people of all ages and backgrounds are now happy to live and take part in community life.

The SRA was originally formed to tackle what was seen as the unchecked decline of the neighbourhood. As the large, predominantly Victorian houses became more difficult to upkeep and heat, householders moved out and premises were turned into single bedsits and hostel accommodation. The area started losing its identity and began to suffer from anti-social behaviour, drug abuse and a sharp decline in the appearance of homes and streets due to rubbish tipping and lack of property maintenance.

With support from the council and other partners, the SRA was instrumental in developing initial ideas to improve the housing stock and the appearance of the area into an ambitious programme that saw the creation of Birmingham’s first Eco Village. An estimated £20 million has been invested in Summerfield over the last decade. An early regeneration programme included the refurbishment of the community hall, external and boundary wall improvements across 396 properties, and the acquisition and de-conversion of 15 Victorian terraces from privately rented flats into family homes.

As these first measures got underway the SRA developed the Eco Village approach. Over £2.6 million was used to deliver a range of projects to improve the fuel efficiency of homes. Six Victorian terraces were de-converted from flats into socially rented family “eco homes”. Solar panels, low-energy heating and super insulation were installed for free in 329 low income homes. Energy awareness was raised amongst the wider community through the involvement of six local schools, 20 trainee placements and the distribution of information packs. Combining local knowledge and resources with the expertise of local agencies has been the key to Summerfield’s success.

The SRA ensured that the agenda for all projects was set by the local community. This has led to real community ownership and sense of pride. Household energy consumption and fuel bills have fallen significantly and reductions in household turnover have made the community more stable

Other Information

  • Project Team: Birmingham City Council, Family Housing Association, Summerfield Residents Association
  • Contact:


UDC2 Section - Managing Quality Placesace 

The Our Summerfield community website is one of the latest initiatives of the SRA. It offers a range of services and opportunities to the residents and is a key source of interaction between neighbours, organisations and local businesses

Images (image bank)