Not sure how to measure the social value delivered on your development? Start by asking the people who will benefit, says Richard Gibbs, director of economic and social advisory at Urbis.
Gibbs says “fractious democracies” and distrust of politicians underscores the importance of early engagement with stakeholders on any project.
“Just as the body politic is fed up with politicians making arbitrary decisions, people are sick of developers making decisions without consulting the community,” he warns.
Gibbs recently joined Urbis with an impressive list of achievements. During a long career with Macquarie Bank, he established its environment, social and governance research and advisory service and advised the Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics for nearly a decade.
As chairman of Youth Off the Streets for the last seven years, Gibbs has helped the not-for-profit scale up its outreach programs and learning centres in regional and remote communities.
Gibbs is now focused on fusing his property and infrastructure experience with social policy to build stronger and more inclusive communities.
The built environment can be a powerful force for social change, Gibbs says, and the property industry is uniquely placed to address a host of tricky social problems, from obesity to housing affordability, and from youth homelessness to Indigenous disadvantage.