Empowering communities in planning
Design workshops held in three Scottish communities have been hailed a success in a new report.
The Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative (SSCI) Charrette Series gave communities the opportunity to get involved in developing masterplans for new and regenerated communities in Dumfries, Lochgelly and Aberdeen.
The 'charrette' series ran throughout March and involved a series of multidisciplinary, collaborative design workshops, facilitated by internationally acclaimed U.S. designer Andrés Duany and his practice, Duany Plater-Zyberk and Company.
The events featured large, public presentations, encouraging the views of local communities to help formulate the visions, as well as several specific meetings for special interest groups within each of the sites' local areas. Masterplans, along with associated illustrations, diagrams and studies for each site, were developed and reviewed extensively with the public during each event. All of these materials are now publicly available within the newly released SSCI Charrette Series report.
Commenting on a report published today, highlighting the outcomes and successes of the workshops, Finance Secretary John Swinney said:
"The SSCI Charrette Series has provided us with a new model of good practice for planning and delivering sustainable development across Scotland. Harnessing the contributions of local communities is essential and their ability to positively influence and shape Scotland's places cannot be underestimated. By combining this vital local knowledge with specialist design expertise, we can deliver high-quality places that serve and support Scotland's communities and businesses to best effect.
"I am keen that we build on the success of the series and the publication of the charrette report is an important step in the Scottish Government's promotion of effective practices that support sustainable growth and high quality outcomes."
Andrés Duany said:
"The scope and detail of the SSCI as a government design initiative is the most ambitious seen for decades. The work on the charrettes has been based on successful urban precedent rather than, as in the 60s, untested theory. On that basis, a very strong foundation has been laid for a successful outcome."
Councillor John Beare of Fife Council said of the Lochgelly charrettes, said:
"The Charrette offered a unique once-in-a-generation opportunity for residents of Lochgelly to influence the future development of their town. It was a very exciting event and brought a whole new meaning to the term community engagement in which Fife Council and the Scottish Government invested heavily.
"We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the local people and it was a privilege to have been involved in the process. The Charrette has challenged the planning procedures, locally and nationally, and opened the way for us to play a leading role in creating new policies and working practices that create places where people want to be".
"Now the final report is published we can look forward to seeing the plans develop into reality, although we recognise that it is the next and future generations who will see the complete outcomes. As guardians of the report, on behalf of the community, we will actively drive forward its principles".
Gordon Mann, Chief Executive of the Crichton Trust, proposers of the Ladyfield project in Dumfries, said:
"Being part of this unique process was both inspirational and challenging. Andres and his team inspired us by reminding us what planning is about and has challenged us now to deliver this vision and demonstrate what good development can achieve. Planning reforms mean that we need to put placemaking, engagement and sustainability at the heart of what we do."
Kevin Murray of Kevin Murray Associates, consultants working on the proposals at Grandhome, Aberdeen said:
"The SSCI Charrette process is a particularly intensive and integrated engagement process. It has helped individuals and organisations to look beyond their narrower interests, and think about placemaking in a more holistic way."
The charrette approach engages local people with experts to develop designs for their community. It is a hands-on approach where ideas are translated into plans and drawings.
The charrette report is a detailed account of the methods and outputs of the charrette series, providing an in-depth summary of the processes and lessons that emerged through the series.
The report is intended to support local authorities and the development industry in the planning and delivery of high-quality sustainable development that engages local communities and streamlines processes through positive collaboration.