Garden communities toolkit

Innovative and integrated communities

How smart communities connect people to technology.

Smart communities respond to opportunities created by changing digital technologies, work patterns and service provision.

Designing for the future

To be future-ready, digital technology and other areas of emerging innovation need to be factored into the planning and design of your garden community.

Innovation includes:

  • new methods of construction
  • new approaches to social care and education
  • new trends in future technologies
  • energy production
  • autonomous vehicles

How smart communities benefit everyone

By integrating land uses with technology, you can benefit the community by:

  • reducing the need for travel
  • creating easier access to facilities and services
  • interconnecting housing/ health/ schools/ leisure 
  • using smart energy sources 
  • social/ economic/ environmental integration

This can lead to:

  • improved outcomes delivered at less cost 
  • growth in jobs and productivity 
  • increased collaboration and engagement with the community

Planning a smart community

There’s a 3 stage process you can follow to integrate innovation into your garden community.

  1. discover
  2. identify
  3. define and deliver

In all the stages, make sure you engage with main stakeholders including service providers as well as industry leaders in digital technology and service delivery.


Explore the ambitions and opportunities for your garden community.

Areas to explore

  • opportunities - like changes in work patterns, local industry, energy, education and health
  • health requirements - high child obesity, age of population, social care, how residents will live, work, recreate and move around at all stages of their life cycle
  • whether services will benefit from being delivered differently to current models


Taking information from the discover stage, you should next identify:

  • initiatives and technologies needed to deliver your ambitions
  • the physical provision needed to integrate the technology into your development.
  • who is providing these technologies
  • who is paying for the technologies

Define and deliver

After you’ve identified, you need to define how to implement your ideas.

  • create an implementation plan for the selected innovation and digital projects, including the process of procurement and implementation 
  • define priorities and timelines 
  • identify which elements need to be included in guiding documents for the garden community, like masterplans
  • plan resources needed for delivery
  • update and review your approach as technology changes

Further information