Sustainable development is an increasingly fundamental international agenda and considered the basis for the construction of ‘good place’. Recent studies define place in terms of its significance within networks of social relationships rather than simply in terms of qualities that exist within a physical locality (Easthope 2004). Current environmental design practices, however, lack effective processes to remain current with and respond to the social structures of the constantly evolving and dynamic communities within which they operate (Bess 2003). And whilst there is increasing effort devoted to public consultation arguably the methods employed focus on individual responses to the geographic and physical boundaries of place with limited reference to social influences. Without a methodology that can describe the community in terms of its extended social network it is argued that relevant and therefore ‘good’ places cannot be created; without the longevity offered by ‘good place’ then the sustainability of the community itself is in jeopardy. This paper discusses the importance of social networks as principle influences of the concept of place, and stresses the necessity for qualitative research within the professional design process. At a micro level the paper emphasizes the need prioritise the social network before the physical network.