Housing to prioritise people

We support the development of homes that are designed to strengthen communities. 

A computer render of a proposed housing development showing a wide car-free street surrounded by brick buildings and people walking down the street

We believe design has the power to bring people together and make better places for everyone.

This belief extends to housing and seeing first-hand how well-designed homes enhance quality of life and strengthen communities.  

We work with:

  • local communities and Scottish Government to shape what housing in the future will look and feel like
  • housing associations and developers to ensure housing today is built to prioritise the people who live there
A group of people stand in front of a round chalkboard circle with multiple coloured words and faint chalk lines

Our work on housing

We bring together developers, housing associations and local authorities to work together on new housing proposals.  

Our role is to prioritise the quality of experience for the people who will live there. We also work to improve the outcome of the development for neighbouring communities. 

How we can help

Our support begins from before the design process starts and concludes ahead of a planning application. It is mostly delivered through workshops.

Getting it right from the start

We advise heads of service on how to use visioning to commission better places using design.  

This pre-design advice targets the period between allocation in the Strategic Housing Investment Plan or Local Development Plan and commissioning a design team. 

We help to start an early dialogue to help set the quality agenda and bringing people together in workshops.  

Our role is to broker a design-led, place-led approach. We help set placemaking priorities and help agree what success looks like. This includes working on the place brief and facilitating the process. 

Design advice

Once projects have begun, our design advice follows three steps: 

  1. Early workshops establish shared aims for a site, recognising both local needs, the physical context and the business case. We share examples and lessons from elsewhere. 

  2. Halfway through we help build consensus and confidence around emerging design and placemaking proposals. 

  3. At the final reporting stage, we help assess the design in relation to project aims and national standards. 

An aerial shot of the Edinburgh coastline.

Housing to 2040

In 2019, the Scottish Government looked at what Scotland’s homes and communities should look and feel like in 2040, and the options and choices to get there.  

Its Housing to 2040 draft vision and principles emerged from the initial round of stakeholder engagement. 

We supported the Housing to 2040 consultation with a series of workshops, interviews and an exhibition. 

Image credit: Aerial Photography Solutions for City of Edinburgh Council

Learn more
A close-up shot of a row of different coloured terraced homes on a cloudless day. Each home has a sloping lawn in front of it.

Housing typologies: case studies

Our housing typology series illustrates where designers have sought to reconcile contemporary living with the wider roles of the individual house integral to placemaking. Through built examples, from East Ayrshire to the Shetland Islands, we explore the terrace, topographic and climate responses, adaptables, and more.

Image credit: Andrew Lee

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Header image credit 7NArchitects and Kingdom Housing Association

Transform your housing project 

Our workshops will help to ensure your housing project prioritises those who will live there and strengthens the local community. 

Get in touch