Challenging the status quo is at the heart of regeneration – diverse teams do it better

06.03.24 5 min read by Elizabeth Oliveira

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we spoke to some of the women at Muse shaping the next generation of places.

Elizabeth Oliveira is Senior Development Manager in our Southern team.

I joined Muse two and half years ago and have spent 15 years in the industry. I’ve worked in the public sector, in consultancy, and now directly for a national placemaker.

I’ve always loved the buzz of successful towns and cities, and at Muse I’m able to truly take ownership of delivering vibrant places, alongside the experienced team at Muse. People and placemaking is at the heart of everything we do, and it’s how I measure our success.

Of course, we can’t act alone. Having worked across the breadth of the industry there is a very clear sense of the sheer number of partners, people, and skills needed to make a successful place.

Often extending over decades, our impact is the work of thousands of contributors – all of whom have been able to buy into a compelling vision, articulate it, and deliver it. Regeneration is a community of professionals.

Canning Town in Newham is a good example. Starting in 2009, ECF (a partnership between Muse, Homes England, and Legal & General) initially delivered 652 new homes, along with shops, a new market, a library, and community space as part of the Rathbone Market regeneration.

Canning Town, London
New community centre and library at Rathbone Market, Canning Town

It was the first piece of the regeneration jigsaw.

The impact since has been astounding, with Newham experiencing a decade of exponential growth. I’m now part of the team delivering Manor Road Quarter – 804 new homes (including 50% affordable), a 2-acre park, and new cycling infrastructure. The second phase achieved planning consent in 2023.

I used to visit Canning Town as a child and the difference we can now see and feel, the buzz regeneration has created, is phenomenal. However, it’s the opportunity this creates which is the greatest prize – jobs, affordable homes, public spaces, economic opportunity, and positive social impact. We have helped change lives in Newham.

It’s nearly 15 years of thought, planning and delivery to get to this point.

Manor Road Quarter, Canning Town (CGI)

Being able to see how we have made an impact is rewarding but I can also see how many professionals and organisations have contributed.

It’s this diversity of views, thoughts, skills, and opinions which make a successful place. Our teams – made up of Muse colleagues, partners, and our supply chain – are always a blend of strengths and perspectives.

They include creative ability, technical strengths, or a commercial mindset, and the very best decisions are made by teams diverse in gender, social background, and ethnicity.

Across my career I’ve seen how a diversity of perspectives and experiences shape better places. By better representing the communities in which we work, the solutions we find, and the social value we create is amplified and enhanced.

Challenging the status quo is at the heart of regeneration and diverse teams do that better.

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