Jewellery Quarter Visioning Studies


John Handscomb


The Jewellery Quarter Development Trust (JQDT) secured funding from the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP to create community-led visioning studies for three areas of the Jewellery Quarter most in need of reconnection and regeneration. Following a call for volunteers, a mix of residents, workers, land owners, business owners and students came together to form three working groups. These groups were tasked with developing a vision for each area that would improve connectivity and stimulate investment, whilst maintaining the area’s strong heritage and improving biodiversity and public health outcomes.

What we did

Akerlof ran the programme, facilitating structured engagement through a series of workshops and feedback mechanisms to focus each group’s output to achieve project objectives. We conducted a total of 11 workshops with 38 stakeholders. Each group was diverse in ethnicity, age and gender, representing a broad scope of local views and opinions. Our approach helped the volunteers to make balanced, informed decisions, maximising the impact of their solutions and driving a holistic view that incorporated the wider vision for the Jewellery Quarter, as well as achieving policy ambitions for Birmingham and the wider region. Interactive workshops and digital tools ensured we formed cohesive teams with motivated individuals, resulting in a creative and community-driven response to unlocking the potential within the Jewellery Quarter.

The impact

  • Three comprehensive visions that can be used by the JQDT and the wider community to engage and lobby local, regional and national government
  • Can be used as a basis for further grant applications to develop worked-up proposals
  • Full alignment with local, city-wide and regional strategic policy
  • Holistic proposals, including recommendations for physical, cultural and environmental interventions
  • Increased confidence

Don't just take our word for it...

The JQDT is a Community Interest Company and, as such, we are passionate about community-led initiatives. It was important to us that the professional team managing the programme created something tailored to our needs, which absolutely wasn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to engagement and consultation. Akerlof delivered in every aspect: knowledgeable, a realistic, understandable roadmap, leading without being dogmatic, flexible and responsive, delivering a high quality output. It was a pleasure to work with the Akerlof team and a joy to see our working groups embrace them and vice versa.

Matthew Bott, Director, Jewellery Quarter Development Trust and Co-Chair, Jewellery Quarter Neighbourhood Plan

Download the visioning study

Three new community visions for the future of the Jewellery Quarter have been released Read the press release

Business Live covers how Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter could be getting a New York-style elevated garden in
Hanging Gardens of Hockley

Jamie Hillier


With a penchant for tweed and jackets with leather arm patches, Jamie began his career as a quantity surveyor, before climbing the ladder to lead major projects for a Tier 1 contractor.

Eventually expanding his book collection beyond copies of SMM7, Jamie has interest in a broad range of subjects linked to delivering better outcomes for society and the environment.

His strategic insights on MMC and behavioural science have made their way into numerous government, industry and academic publications, including the Construction Playbook, Transforming Infrastructure Performance Roadmap to 2030, the Platform Rulebook and the RIBA DfMA Overlay.

John Handscomb


Construction is in John’s blood. Learning from his father who was a planner and project manager, John began his career by working on some iconic projects in both the public and private sector.

As a procurement expert and integrator of new ways of working, John has pioneered the integration of platform principles, DfMA processes and supply chain within over £5bn projects in the last 15 years, for some of the largest building programmes in the UK. Despite his considerable expertise, John keeps it simple, communicating complicated ideas with ease and helping to equip the industry with new knowledge and skills.

Outside of Akerlof, John enjoys his executive role with technology start-up ScanTech Digital, spending time with his family, taking trips down the football, playing a bit of golf with friends and the odd pint. 

Our name is shared with George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning economist.

His seminal paper, Market for Lemons, demonstrated the devastating consequences of making decisions under the conditions of quality uncertainty and unequal information between buyers and sellers, increasing the chance of buyers ending up with a ‘lemon’.

This 50-year-old concept continues to retain parallels within the construction industry.

Through our insight and experience, we can rebalance this information asymmetry on behalf of our clients, levelling the playing field to deliver better outcomes.