In three whole-day workshops, the panel agreed that regeneration should respect local culture and ecology, engage the community, inject innovation and creativity, and ensure sustainability.
The initiative will involve five demonstration housing projects that show how such a "culture-led" approach can raise design quality. These projects will form part of the 17,000 homes that Thurrock is developing as part of the sustainable communities programme for Thames Gateway, the largest regeneration programme in Europe.
It puts Thurrock on the cultural map and leverages millions of pounds in funding
Neville Baldwin, Thurrock council
The brief also proposed that the area's 18 miles of riverfront, which has been monopolised by industry and shipping, should be reclaimed as public realm.
The approach has been backed by 13 public agencies brought together by the Arts Council and endorsed by Tessa Jowell, secretary of state for culture, media and sport and Keith Hill, minister of housing and planning.