Designing for a Changing Climate – Report

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Download: Carbon Conscious Places Main Report

Architecture and Design Scotland  recently undertook an exploration into  designing for a changing climate, where practitioners use a whole place approach to meet the net zero carbon challenge. Through rethinking how we move about, how we live, how we support town centres and how we become more self-sufficient, we can consider the different ways to address carbon emissions, as well as climate adaptation.   

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In 2019, the Energy and Climate Change Directorate of the Scottish Government asked Architecture and Design Scotland to help implement Scotland’s Climate Change Plan and Act at a local level. Over the last decade, A&DS has collected intelligence on sustainable design. However, with the introduction of a target to be a net zero carbon society by 2045, we recognised we could both support and gain more understanding of the practical and creative ways places can help achieve this ambition.

Pilot Programme

We spent the past year working in four local authorities to pilot Carbon Conscious Places.  We have used four scales of places – an urban neighbourhood, a city centre, a town and a rural community to illustrate what Scotland in 2050 could look like if we work together and support a holistic approach to designing for the changing climate and delivering on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Each example shows a combination of measures to reduce, repurpose and absorb carbon and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The report is not designed to be read as a manual. It does not suggest a fixed set of solutions for how to alter places. Instead it offers examples, principles and illustrations to help guide and inspire people to support a whole place approach to responding to the climate imperative, carbon targets and their place conditions.


(Subtitled version to follow soon)

(Updated October 2020)

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