Geddes-Gram: Let’s try a presumptive ‘Yes – how can we make this happen?’ – Graham Ross

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We have put together a series of questions to get to know what you think about the Scotland’s (and beyond) built environment, inspired by Sir Patrick Geddes, the pioneering urban planner and geographer. Here our Board Member, and deputy Chair, Graham Ross answers our Geddes-Gram. 

What’s your favourite environment; town/city/country village? 

They’re all braw. I’d reckon we’ve loads of great examples of something remarkable within 5 miles (or less?) of every place in Scotland.

What place in Scotland makes you happiest – and why?

Home –with my folks.

Where do you go to get away from it all?

Home, holiday, the pub, a game of 5s at Glasgow Green or a great book / album / film / gig / play / sports event…

If you had a ‘place super power’ what would you do for Scotland’s places?

To restore pride in place – to help everyone cherish their place, have ideas about how to improve it and the desire to help make it a wee bit better. 5.3m wee bits better is a big bit better!

What do you think are our biggest challenges in the Built Environment?

Folk not giving a damn – a prevailing ‘that’ll do’ or ‘this is how we’ve always done it’ mindset. And, worse still, the presumptive ‘No!’ that seems to be the default reaction to most ideas not out of the ‘tried this before’ box. Let’s try a presumptive ‘Yes –how can we make this happen. It could be magic!’ now and again.

What place here, or abroad, could we most learn from?

You can learn something from everywhere (and everyone) – both what to, and what not to, do. Most places on the continent seems to imbue their places with quality of design and planning. Probably because they value design quality and their design professions more than we seem to.

Anything make you mad in Scotland’s places?

Folk not giving a damn (eg. littering), putting up with mediocrity (thereby ensuring more of it) and folk waiting for somebody else to do something about it….Let’s get stuck in and make things as good as they can be.

What has ‘Scotland the place’ got that we should protect forever?

Optimistic folk with the ideas, creativity and optimism to make things better

Optimist or pessimist for our High Streets?

Optimist – High Streets have always been about more than just buying / trading / consuming stuff. Defining the future ‘post-retail High Streets’ present all sorts of tantalising opportunities, if we’re bold, creative and innovative enough.

Housing Typology Case Studies

These examples illustrate where architects and urban designers have reconciled functions of the individual house that are integral to placemaking.

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