Working on infrastructure projects is somewhat of a rarity for a brand agency. Large-scale initiatives such as Connecting Leeds, Leeds City Council’s ambitious re-definition of its public transport system, obviously don’t happen very often. However, when they do come about, they demand a degree of organisation and preparation that is mostly at odds with definition of the word ‘creative’.
Consulting with residents, workers and casual visitors is a legal obligation when undertaking projects of this nature and this too brings challenges. Often facing the most critical of audiences – whose neighbourhoods, livelihoods or journeys to work may be compromised during periods of physical transformation – it is imperative that communications are planned and executed with extreme care and consideration.
At a recent council Exec Board meeting, Connecting Leeds took centre stage. And Nigel Foster – former Director of Strategy for Transport for the North (TfN) and current Chair of Leeds transport advisory panel – was most complimentary about the consultation process and achievements.
He said Connecting Leeds was widely recognised in Government and within other local authorities as the “leading approach” to transport strategies. He also said the conversations happening around the interventions were “unparalleled”. With over 15,000 people contributing during the first two rounds of consultation – at public exhibitions and online – it’s no wonder those ultimately responsible for the initiative are pleased with the results.
Of course, we can’t claim all the credit and nor would we try. The entire consultant team has a depth of experience and expertise that will rival any in the land and this in no small way impacts upon our capacity to facilitate project objectives through design.
As we’ve always said and will always maintain, “to do great work you must have a great client” – happily, Connecting Leeds is one such project.