Key trends that mean we need to use our town centres differently - event

An illustration of an integrated transport hub with a large box with the words Place Conversations on the left hand side.
Published: 15/04/2024

How can we collaborate better to design for town centre living?

More individuals and organisations are looking at the potential for more housing in our town centres. Scotland’s design agency for place – Architecture and Design Scotland – will host a discussion on Wednesday 17 April about how to work together and use design to deliver liveable town centres. 

Key trends that point to the need to use our town centres differently:

  • Ageing population: As our population ages having a greater range of housing types that are easily accessible without reliance on cars or public transport could transform ageing and provide a more diverse social life in our town and city centres. 
  • Housing crisis: There is a shortage of good, well-designed and affordable housing – using our existing assets in town centres can help unlock more homes and create vibrant town centres.
  • Change in retail: As our retail patterns change, we need to find other uses for our buildings in our town centres. Services and homes can form part of the solution.
  • Biodiversity crisis: We are facing a biodiversity and climate crisis. Using our town centres for housing and services reduces the need to build on greenfield land. 
  • Climate crisis: The greenest building is the building that is already built. Through Retrofitting or adapting existing places we can give new life to buildings and provide energy-efficient, warm homes to a broad range of families and individuals. 

In our next Place conversation event, we will talk to the experts about how we need to work together across professional and physical boundaries to take a more coordinated approach to town centre living. We will hear examples of where this has worked, and explore the challenges involved in transforming our town centres to be more desirable places to live. 

Designing town centre living

Speaking about the upcoming Place conversation, Architecture and Design Scotland’s Director of Design, Heather Claridge said, “We look forward to hosting a discussion on our town centres and how we can design them to become desirable places to live, work and socialise. We created this event to provide professionals working in the built environment quick access to the experts and provide another way that we can share learning from across Scotland.”

Speakers at the Place Conversation will be Claire McArthur, Policy & Strategy Manager, Aberdeen City Council and Rory Kellett, Architect and Director of Threesixty Architecture. 

The Town Centre Living and Investment Roadshow took place at the start of 2024. Inspired by the themes emerging from the series of events, Architecture and Design Scotland is looking to explore transferrable lessons from the roadshow with a particular focus on design. The Town Centre Living and Investment Roadshow was delivered collaboratively by Scotland’s Towns Partnership, Scottish Futures Trust, Architecture and Design Scotland and the Scottish Land Commission.

About the broadcast:

Thirty minutes, live, hosted on LinkedIn
12:00-12:30, Wednesday 17 April 

For further information on this press release please contact Anja Ekelof, Communications Manager, Architecture and Design Scotland

Missed out on Place Conversations?

Replay the recording from our Place Conversations held on 17 April, featuring guest speakers Claire McArthur of Aberdeen City Council and Rory Kellett of Threesixty Architecture. Hosted by our Director of Design, Heather Claridge, this Place Conversations explores how we can co-design our town centres with communities to become desirable places to live, work and socialise

View recap