A ‘Placemaking’ training event was facilitated by A+DS / SNH for The Moray Council Elected Members to support the Council’s ambitions to champion a design led approach to creating good places, and to build upon an earlier design skills training event.
The participative workshop sought to understand the benefits of good placemaking, explored what ‘good’ looks like, and examined how supplementary guidance can help to provide clarity by defining a vision and key principles to proactively guide development enquiries.
SNH’s presentation promoted the multi functional benefits to be gained through integrating green networks. A series of practical projects were described that have been identifying opportunities for environmental enhancement, while also setting ambitions that engage people with visioning change and making it happen.
Five key principles were identified to help guide the delivery of better natural heritage outcomes in place design:
- Understand and work with the natural assets of an area
- Integrate the natural heritage vision with the overall place vision
- Plan positively from the outset for multi-functionality / multiple benefits
- Plan for a hierarchy of open spaces and structural landscape elements
- Plan for overall interconnectivity including the connectivity between streets and green networks
A+DS’s presentation described the importance of integrating all design aspects in making places and how industry is responding to the placemaking agenda. Designs should respond to place:
- walkable neighbourhoods should be created
- buildings can work positively to create attractive environments
- built form can link to create enclosure and define character
- cars and infrastructure can be integrated into the design
- buildings and spaces can be adaptable, flexible and resilient to changing requirements across time
- residential areas can offer social, parks and play spaces.
A series of images illustrated place based designs that are alternatives to standard generic ‘anywhere’ products. The presentation noted how policies such as Scottish Planning Policy, Creating Places and Designing Streets support better placemaking. In considering streets as public spaces, small details can have a major influence; e.g. sharp radius can slow traffic speed and aid more direct pedestrian crossing.
Key observations arising from discussion included:
- consider the whole town implications of growth in particular areas
- set a vision and be specific and clear on non negotiable principles
- sticking to non negotiables in decision making is important when challenged
- what has been done in the past in terms of spatial planning, masterplanning and delivery isn’t what we need to do in the future
- think about the experiential qualities of a place – what will it be like to live there?
- a need to be ambitious about the form and content of growth and communities need to be more engaged
More information is available in the accompanying summary report of the event.