In association with the British Council, Architecture +Design Scotland undertook a ‘Future City Game’ in Linlithgow, West Lothian, to explore new concepts and ideas that might improve people’s lives in the town.
The ‘Future City Game’ offers the opportunity for representatives from varying backgrounds, including professionals and community members, to work together in teams to identify challenges facing the town and propose solutions to overcome these issues. Each team is encouraged to develop and present one idea; at the end of the day the participants vote for a winning idea. The game has been played across Europe and permits interaction and collaboration between stakeholders. It focuses discussion around what improvements, spatial or non-spatial, can be made in an area.
The medieval town of Linlithgow is a small market town in Central Scotland with a community of 13,500 people. It is both a tourist and a commuter town with direct links to the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. In comparison to Scottish and West Lothian averages, Linlithgow performs well in terms of employment, education and accessibility etc. However, it is these very points that apply pressure for additional development, in turn causing an increase in population and strain on the existing infrastructure and facilities. It is fundamental to the future of the town that its key qualities are retained during future development and that a strategy is put in place for its continuing sustainability.
Five teams took part in the Linlithgow Future City Game, when numerous ideas were generated in response to environmental, social, economic and cultural challenges. Major suggestions included:
- Development of an “Eco Zone”, introducing bio-mass plants and wind turbines to allow Linlithgow to produce its own power;
- The development of a “Technology Park”, creating new employment opportunities and encouraging young talent to stay within the local area;
- Creation of a Public Space to attract customers from both local and surrounding areas and encourage more public interaction;
- Encouraging a “Local Linlithgow”, where promoting community supported produce and educating locals in consumption was hoped to aid behavioural change toward a more environmentally friendly community.
The overall ‘winning idea’ was for the introduction of a “Revolving Trust”, named Linlithgow Investment Futures Trust (LIFT). In principle, revenue generated via an energy efficiency programme would be placed back into the trust. These funds would then be invested into Linlithgow based community projects or to aid local young people with the advancement of education or business. The energy programme would ensure all local properties were as energy efficient as possible, utilising available Government grants. A percentage of potential savings made on energy bills would be paid back into LIFT as part of the programme cycle to assist in aiding the long term sustainable future for Linlithgow.
Exercises such as the ‘Future City Game’ can promote positive outcomes in terms of encouraging debate and developing concepts for improving and securing the sustainability of a town’s future.