The Recap: a weekly update from Architecture and Design Scotland

A garden with wide footpath and seating area located nearby a block of flats.
Published: 19/04/2024

(22 April 2024) Welcome to the Recap - a weekly update blog from Architecture and Design Scotland. This is based on our internal blog that is shared with staff and board members on Fridays. 

Last week we had a busy week with our latest Board meeting, meetings with our Scottish Government sponsor-team and SFT, and we took part in a workshop on walkable high streets, Blackburn Local Place Plan, attended 7N Architects 15th birthday party, Place and Wellbeing Alliance, and hosted our latest LinkedIn Live Place Conversation. 

Place and Wellbeing Alliance: Town Centre Living, a Place-Based Approach

We joined an online Town Centre Living online event on Thursday. It followed the recent roadshows. Hosted by Public Health Scotland and developed in partnership with our Roadshow partners Scottish Futures Trust, Scotland’s Towns Partnership and Scottish Land Commission, the event focused on exploring how town centres can be revitalised through increased housing opportunities, with a positive impact on health and wellbeing, while also considering net zero goals. It also provided a chance to hear from some of the case study projects featured in the Roadshows from across the country - delivering benefits for placemaking through the town centre living agenda.

The event brought together over 90 participants from public and private sectors for discussions around how we can adopt a place-based approach to address the challenges and opportunities for town centre living. Three sessions included a keynote presentation from Improvement Service’s ’Shaping Place for Wellbeing Programme’, break-out rooms with facilitated panel discussion and Q&A with leads of selected case studies around the overarching theme of ‘Creating the Conditions and deriving benefits from Town Centre Living’ and a plenary.


Last Monday we revisited Blackburn – one of the towns in the Climate Action Towns project. We were there to support the Blackburn Local Place Plan which is to be submitted at the end of May. Meeting with Community Action Blackburn, Blackburn Community Council and a rep from West Lothian Council they reviewed the results from the recent community survey of the draft Local Place Plan and agreed on the recommendations to take forward. The next few weeks will see them working together to finalise the Place Plan.

We were able to visit the Boulder Path Garden which has recently been replanted as an edible walkway by Community Action Blackburn - an idea that emerged in early discussions in the Climate Action Towns project.

Pedestrian Pound

On Wednesday afternoon we participated in a workshop along with Keith Gowenlock, one of our design panellists, on developing the Scottish chapter for the Pedestrian Pound. The Pedestrian Pound is a seminal report making the economic case for investing in better, more walkable, high streets and town centres. It was first published in 2013 and last updated in 2018. 

This research will result in the publication of the third edition of the report – which will feature the latest evidence on the impact of public realm schemes and other improvements benefiting pedestrians, in the context of the post-Covid high street. The updated report will broaden the evidence base to include a wider range of economic benefits (e.g. those associated with health, social and environmental benefits) as well as feature a new selection of case studies exemplifying best practice from across the UK.  Design, the Place Principle, town centre living and several public realm projects which A&DS has been involved with and/or have featured, were all part of the session.

7N Architects

We were delighted to attend the 15-year birthday celebrations of 7N architects on Thursday evening. We most recently collaborated with 7N on the What if…?/ exhibition and project in 2021. It was a busy event with a room full of familiar faces and displays of exciting projects. 

It was great to catch up with colleagues from across the practice and their client base and the evening provided us with a chance for us to share a little of what we are up to at the same time. 


This month’s meeting kicked off with a fantastic presentation on our work on the Outdoor Learning Hub at Queen Margaret University, and how we hope to build on its success. 

Other items on the agenda were a new style Chief Executive report, the revised terms of reference for the Board and Audit Committee and a paper on the self-assessment exercise recently carried out by members. 

Coming up

On Wednesday, the first in-person meeting of the Town Centre Action Plan Forum takes place at the Melting Pot in Edinburgh. The Forum will again be chaired by Joe Fitzpatrick, Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning. 

We will circulate our latest newsletter earlier than usual – as we have some exciting news to share… So don’t forget to sign up to the newsletter to be the first to find out!

Header image taken at Boulder Path Garden in Blackburn by Architecture and Design Scotland.