Key principles for placemaking brands: Part 5

PlaceMaker – also available as a downloadable guide – explores six key principles for ambitious place brands in 2024. In this interview, we delve deeper into the fifth principle as Somewhere Associate Director, Scott McCubbin, recalls going 'bold and brave' with our placemaking work for Greenwich Peninsula and Harrow Council.

‘Something that has never been done before’

To really stand out from the crowd, you have to do something beyond what’s expected. 

For place brands, this could look like an extraordinary celebration of place that excites, engages, and puts you on the map. 

When it comes to communicating your vision, it’s often about crafting an immersive, multi-level experience through storytelling that will strike a chord and be remembered for decades. 

Below, you’ll find an interview with Somewhere Associate Director, Scott McCubbin, as he reflects on going ‘bold and brave’ with placemaking storytelling for our clients.

During the interview, Scott recalls two very different projects that demonstrate the impact of this approach – Greenwich Peninsula – Paper World for Knight Dragon, and Map of the Future for Harrow Council.

Q. Scott, beginning with our work for Knight Dragon, can you tell us what the client wanted to achieve?

Scott: “So, over the past eight years, we’ve collaborated with Chinese developer, Knight Dragon, to create a clear positioning for Greenwich Peninsula – the 150-acre, semi-derelict land around the O2 Arena in London.

“We were tasked with developing a piece – attracting both investors and residents alike – that would bring life to their idea, garnering excitement and support before a spade was put in the ground.”

Q. What was the idea we landed on and what sparked it? 

Scott: “With Knight Dragon, one phrase the client used that really stood out to us.

“It knocked down boundaries for our team and got our creatives and technologists incredibly excited. 

“Knight Dragon requested ‘something that has never been done before.’ 

“We had to land on something that would make Greenwich Peninsula stand out in a really memorable and remarkable way. Something that would create lasting impact.

“So, we proposed the ‘Paper World’ – a playful, top level vision-setting piece which used a lot of gaming technology.”

Q. How was ‘Paper World’ an example of going bold and brave for the client?

Scott: “They wanted something extraordinary and we presented them with a 3D world – which ended being multi-award winning.

“It was completely immersive, existing as a VR experience, cinema-sized game, online platform, and also physical model.

“A world designed to fire up the imagination of every customer group while offering them a way to fall in love with a development that will be 20 years in the making.”

Q. What success did this project see?

Scott: “Knight Dragon saw a 140% spike in internet traffic, selling 40 apartments in the first month of its launch – which is an incredible achievement.”

Q. This was clearly a monumental project. Can you recall any other projects that encapsulated the spirit of going ‘bold and brave’ in a different way?

Scott: “Yes. Our work for Harrow Council is another interesting example of this.

“Regeneration of neighbouring areas involved cranes being erected overnight, local landmarks being erased, and community spirit replaced by a sense of exclusivity.

“This is not what the regeneration of Harrow was about.

“The brief was to engage and excite the younger population – who generally aren't an easy audience when it comes to regeneration.

“We needed to evidence this sense of differentiation through the the way we communicate its story. We had to establish a radically different tone for the client.”

“So to strike this chord, we had go bold and brave – stretching boundaries, flexing our creative muscles, and leaning into a refined sense of playfulness. 

“Using a combination of print and AR, we created Harrow’s Map of the Future – a 3D map that reaches out to show a disinterested audience the real benefits of the changes to come – more people, business, fun, and more life in an area that’s been chronically ignored.

“Giant teapots, floating trainers, and the literal buzz of the place captured through playful sound design, combined with candid voiceover and intuitive, game-like navigation. 

“The Map of the Future guides the resident, the developer, the whole building industry – into a world of what could be.”

Q. And how did Map of the Future land with the client? 

Scott: “Daniel Lester, Head of Communications at Harrow Council provided us with the following quote”

I think it’s good value for money. If you think of the number of boring, conventional column inches that people spend banging away at the same old same old about how you are going to regenerate an area. This map could be the difference between doing or not doing it.
Daniel Lester, Head of Communications, Harrow Council
To learn more, to book a session to discuss your placemaking brand with our team, or to receive your copy of our downloadable PlaceMaker guide, email our Associate Director, Scott McCubbin via
Share this article