Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative (SSCI) – Charrette Series

A month-long series of interactive, public design workshops, the SSCI Charrette Series was a ground-breaking programme for the Scottish Government. Delivered and managed by Turnberry Consulting and Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, the series involved three sites across Scotland selected for their potential as national exemplar communities. Differing in size, location and socio-economic circumstance, the sites provided a range of challenges, resulting in design approaches and solutions applicable to similar sites across Scotland. An exercise of this type had never before been executed at a national level.

The SSCI Charrettes were unique not only in their scope but also in their approach to community engagement and participation. In each charrette, an international design team engaged with the site’s local communities to determine the optimal approach to the masterplanning assignments. Each charrette featured meetings with a variety of groups, including the general public, Council representatives and specialised professionals, with community feedback incorporated directly into the masterplans. All masterplans, and supporting documents, were then presented on-site within each five-to-eight-day charrette. And Turnberry then co-authored a final report setting out the findings of the exercise and published by Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government selected the sites participating in the Charrette Series from applicants across the country. The sites included Ladyfield, an urban infill site in Dumfries; Lochgelly, a town in Fife identified for regeneration through a Strategic Land Allocation programme; and Grandhome, a large-scale urban extension in Aberdeen.

Although these sites shared a common design approach through the inclusion of employment land, retail and community uses alongside new housing, they differed in terms of scale and context. For example, Ladyfield utilised the greenest technologies, benefiting from its proximity to the Crichton Carbon Centre, a charity that actively participated in the charrette and offered proposals for the use of innovative sustainability tools. At Lochgelly, the design focused on strategies to revive a struggling high street whilst also planning a substantial town expansion. At Grandhome, the masterplan proposed a sustainable, stand-alone town extension including over 6,000 homes and associated community facilities.

More information about these sites is available through the Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative.

Images courtesy of DPZ and Brooks Murray Architects.