Board Blogs: Cities drive our economy – Andrew Burrell

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In a series of blogs, members of the A&DS Board explain what inspires them, their policy priorities and what they wish their secret built environment super power would be. Here Andrew Burrell, an architect and A&DS Board member, gives his reflections of being a part of Architecture and Design Scotland.

What inspires you day to day about being a board member of A&DS? Is there anything that frustrates you?

Andrew Burrell: The most inspiring element is simply people – Board Members, Forum Panel members, staff and parties interested in what we do and what they think we should do.

The most frustrating aspect is dealing with diminishing financial resources at a time of growing need. And, of course, the bureaucracy of government, but that’s inherent in the system.

What things/activities has being a board member of A&DS enabled you to get involved with?

Two aspects spring to mind – at the strategic level the opportunity to gain an improved understanding of how government policies are inter-linked, and at the local level meeting with residents, professionals and politicians to discuss the potential of their town, what they individually perceived as the ‘real’ issues, and what they would like to happen. The gulf between the respective views often described at the micro scale illustrate why policies don’t always work at the macro level.

From your perspective, what are the best projects or activities A&DS has done? Why?

The above meeting of A&DS Board and staff, residents, professionals and politicians has led to some of the most interesting debates – which have hopefully informed A&DS members’ discussions. In particular the Design Forum Panel’s work will hopefully take this diversity of views into account in their deliberations.

What future work is A&DS involved in that particularly interests you and why is it important?

The housing agenda and its links with the requirements for transport infrastructure, the implications for climate change and the need to increase the density of new development in areas where we already have the requisite infrastructure, as opposed to the housebuilder’s wildly depicted ‘market demand’.

If you could make built environment policy, what one issue would you tackle first?

Urban regeneration. Cities drive our economy and to a large extent our culture. Allow them to decline and the rest will follow.

What built environment super power would you like to have?

Common sense.

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