THE FUTURE FOX

Digital Engagement & Participation, Data-driven decision making, Urban and local needs

Enabling community-driven urban planning and policymaking

ABOUT THE FUTURE FOX

Summary

  • Founded in 2017
  • Revenue growth from 2020 to 2021: 60%
  • HQ in London
  • 1-10 employees
  • Key clients/partners: Scottish Government; UK Government; South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City Councils;Glasgow City Council; Devon County Council
  • Key executives: Annette Jezierska, CEO and Founder: previously Head of Business Development at advocacy and engineering group Sustrans and on Westminster City Council’s recycling communications team.

profile

Last year, the UK government released a white paper outlining its vision for 21st century urban planning. The proposal, which would be the first major update to planning legislation since the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act, aims to bring economic prosperity by developing Britain's built environment. Analysts note that the plan faces significant criticism from architects, local authorities, and anti-homeless advocates. However, the conversation around this white paper makes it clear that rethinking how we design our communities will play a key role in global post-pandemic recovery efforts.

Annette Jezierska, CEO and Founder of London-based startup The Future Fox, underscores that “people feel locked out of the planning system.” Furthermore, Jezierska notes that “public opposition to housing and infrastructure costs the UK £42 billion in GDP.”

With these issues in mind, The Future Fox has developed PlaceBuilder, a digital citizen engagement and analytics platform that empowers municipal governments and their residents to collaborate and make data-driven urban planning decisions. Using PlaceBuilder, public sector organisations – with the support of The Future Fox’s team of engagement experts – can quickly deploy inquiries to gauge community sentiment on local needs and planning initiatives.

PlaceBuilder guides The Future Fox’s clients to focus on finding consensus amongst community members and identify what and where schemes could be built with support. According to The Future Fox, this outcomes-based approach enables local governments to find solutions that build the lasting trust that makes communities thrive.

plans for 2022

  • Launch new product features to help with trade-offs in spatial decisions, and incorporate wider data sources like land values and social media, for more meaningful collaboration
  • Work on more net zero and carbon-reducing schemes
  • Grow as a leader in the UK PropTech scene, onboarding new clients in adopting data-driven practises in engagement, and releasing a paper based on their work with HM Government on the UK’s first digital engagement on strategic regional planning, that produced a unique spatial community preference map to inform responsive policy-making

who should connect with this company

Local governments that would like to collaborate with citizens to make better urban planning and policy decisions for their communities.

Case Study

In 2019 and 2020, the London Borough of Lewisham engaged The Future Fox to collect and analyse citizen feedback on the design of a low-traffic neighbourhood. The Future Fox helped Lewisham develop a survey that was sent to 8,785 households in the project area through The Future Fox’s digital platform. Approximately 800 people responded and left thousands of comments flagging their highest priority traffic-related issues and voting on different proposed solutions. The Borough directly used this citizen feedback data in spatial plans, leveraging a range of advanced analytical techniques and visualisations to enable citizen-led planning decisions.

Ultimately, the Borough used the data collected through The Future Fox to develop a traffic reduction masterplan. This plan was implemented in June 2020. Since then, the council has mostly kept the changes it made – except for removing a few closures due to increased traffic levels since the height of the pandemic.

stateup view

The main advantage of The Future Fox’s offering is that it is purpose-built for urban planning, unlike alternatives that engage citizens across all local issues. PlaceBuilder’s templates make it quicker to deploy inquiries and lead to more effective results because their reporting features are fine tuned for urban planners.

The Future Fox has also proved tenacious in its navigation of the complexities of UK public sector procurement, having secured contracts with DLUHC / MHCLG, Scottish Government, Devon County Council, and Glasgow City Council as well as Equans (Engie). PlaceBuilder is currently being used to devise a long-term sustainable growth plan for the region encompassing Oxford and Cambridge.

The current UK policy environment, including the Levelling Up agenda, indicates that the interest in community-building platforms will only increase. Moreover, the use case for this software has the potential to expand far beyond Britain as global leaders grapple with post-pandemic urban planning.

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