Placemaking - house builders

We all know what 90 percent of the new housing is Scotland looks like, exactly the same as it has for the last 40 years. Policies on Architecture, Placemaking and Designing Streets has made little difference. Local Plans are full of policies on design yet they are routinely ignored. The situation is not made any better by the DPEA routinely ignoring design and sustainability and allowing most anything anywhere. Planners are now experts in transport, air quality, SUDS, flooding, funding education and all of the worlds infrastructure. Urban Design and Placemaking are at the bottom of a very long list and well below development economics. Well qualified urban design/architects professionals are required within all planning authorities, including the DPEA, to ensure this matter is fully evaluated. 

Why the contribution is important

Because we need to stop pretending that people want to live in modern suburbia miles from the corner shop and commute to civilisation. This form of living will never create the best most sustainable communities that we all visit or are lectured about.

by Redfox on January 30, 2016 at 11:22AM

Current Rating

Average score : 4.4
Based on : 14 votes


  • Posted by Gala1337 February 01, 2016 at 11:00

    Agree. Too often housebuilders churn out rubber stamp architecture with little variation. It could be red ridge tiles on grey concrete tiles or grey ridge tiles on red concrete pantiles. Little regard is had to local vernacular and the excellent work undertaken by the Scottish Government and Local Uathority Urban Design Forum in an attempt to raise the standard of architecture. Having said that, the Poundbury model is not one to be followed.
  • Posted by kdonnelly February 03, 2016 at 08:56

    I think what we need to see from this latest planning review is more front loading of design specifications from central government for new developments. Currently these are (in my experience) forming part of discussions later on in the process, which could have an impact on viability for these developments. We still need more new houses, and to engage with developers to produce them, but we are at an important time to change towards more sympathetic urban design.
  • Posted by EdgeOfCentre February 04, 2016 at 21:19

    Well said! What we seem to be seeing is the loss of design expertise within planning departments with a much greater expectation that planners can cover all the issues. This probably relates to the points raised on here about resources for planning departments.
  • Posted by GaryTempleton February 23, 2016 at 14:29

    Agree with the concerns expressed regarding bland suburbia. The Moray Council is taking significant steps forward to address this issue through leadership, policy, training and implementation.

    Decision makers are now better equipped and trained in Placemaking issues and the Council has introduced a quality audit process to bring consistent interpretation of national policies (Creating Places and Designing Streets) and local policies (Primary Policy 3 in the LDP on Placemaking and Urban Design Guidance). These policies and processes are being fed in to influence large scale masterplans and to help negotiate better outcomes on planning applications.
  • Posted by Anonymous February 29, 2016 at 19:32

    Good work Gary. You are right to highlight the culture change that planning departments need to go through and good that Moray have recognised and enabled this. Elected members need trained every election cycle....and also need to recognise their limitations in expertise, hopefully taking design panel advice on key applications
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