Thirteen Group

27th January 2023
Esri UK

Thirteen Group

Thirteen Group manages and owns more than 35,000 homes across the North East, North Yorkshire and the Humber. Their community resilience strategy uses ArcGIS to map communities with external location-based data at a local level. They use this to target resources in neighbourhoods, to improve customers’ lives and make their communities safer, healthier and more sustainable.

ArcGIS maps internal and external data to localities for the community team to use in planning and decision making.

ArcGIS reveals the different needs of each local community and displays the amenities and support that exist in the location.

Thirteen Group uses ArcGIS to track the impact of capital investments. It also   provides solid data to support applications for funding.

The Challenge

Thirteen Group’s community resilience strategy is helping communities to become resilient and become sustainable in the long term. It focuses on understanding customers’ needs better, making the best possible use of assets and understanding how they can engage with its customers and collaborators to make a difference in a community.

Covid presented challenges, and the future can seem uncertain with rising prices, job insecurity and the threat of climate change. Thirteen Group is responding by mapping its communities and assets at local levels to offer targeted support and enable communities to thrive and become more resilient.

“We are passionate about using GIS to understand our communities. We are on a journey and there will be much more we can do with our data".

Rebecca Dick, GIS Lead, Thirteen Group

The Solution

Thirteen Group has been using Esri’s ArcGIS solutions since 2010. Initially they used ArcGIS to plan maintenance of their properties and grounds. Now more departments use ArcGIS and they have added ArcGIS Online and Esri’s Living Atlas to learn more about their communities.

In housing, mapping communities is key. It relates homes to external data such as the managing authority, LSOA, ward and the built environment. It also shows the proximity to towns and transport. Thirteen Group maps all of this data and then uses the multi-criteria analysis and widgets in ArcGIS to manipulate the data and present it in the required way.

ArcGIS Online allows them to share the data with selected colleagues. Colleagues can then click on a location and drill down to interrogate the information.

Rebecca Dick, GIS Lead, Thirteen Group, says: “A data table of addresses will not show you that one street backs onto another. We use ArcGIS to map and see the entire picture of the housing services we manage, in the context of the local communities”.

By using the system, they have been able to:

Map their housing datasets in ArcGIS to reveal the hotspots for housing demand and identify areas with many empty homes.

Overlay their data with data from partners, such as the local authorities, schools, charities and universities. They add data from Esri’s Living Atlas, the foremost repository of geospatial data in the world. Combining data reveals how communities differ and shows where they should target resources. The datasets from ArcGIS form the basis for collaboration and customer consultations and enable targeted interventions in communities.

Create a ranking system in ArcGIS that shows where to focus new services and who would benefit from them.

Study the impact of recent capital investments and measure how projects have impacted our communities.

“GIS data is very ‘interpretable’. We can view a wealth of data together which is extremely useful for decision-making.”

Rebecca Dick, GIS Lead, Thirteen Group


Highlighting local issues helps operations
ArcGIS presents a clear view of the factors affecting communities and the hotspots for frontline services. It helps to manage factors such as the turnover of tenants and debt that increase costs, and target resources to improve customer satisfaction. It is very easy to understand the maps because they are visual. The team particularly like the interactive maps and heat spots because they are so intuitive and easy to understand.

A better understanding of how to support communities
Thirteen Group is using ArcGIS to map the social and environmental factors affecting their communities and understand their needs at a grassroot level. The information is then used to tailor initiatives to individual areas. For example, they have mapped areas of high crime and overlaid the data with neighbourhood watch areas. Their teams then worked with the community to help establish new Neighbourhood Watch groups. They have also mapped areas with unemployment and high arrears and overlaid the data with local support services to identify any gaps. The information has then been used to develop interventions within the community, such as eco shops, employment and skills academies, as well as benefit campaigns.

ArcGIS helps with planning and grant applications
ArcGIS shows where demand for homes is greatest and where it could become even higher. It helps target areas of focus and look for development opportunities. The data supports their applications for grants and community renewal funds. It is important that they can make evidence-based decisions, supported by data from ArcGIS.

ArcGIS can also show why certain areas are given priority for resources. Thirteen Group can track the impact of interventions over time to understand how they are helping customers, and if there should be requests from the community, the GIS data allows them to respond in an informed way.

Partnerships are more effective with ArcGIS
Housing associations need to collaborate with partners. ArcGIS enables Thirteen Group to map their partners’ amenities in relation to their own communities and work more effectively with the partners without silos or duplication of services. Where there is a particular community need, they can signpost customers to the right partner. Where a service works well in one community, they might repeat it in another area with a similar situation and profile.

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