Local authority urban design forum 09 - newsletter - May 2017

A newsletter on engaging communities in design for all abilities access and movement. 

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Local authority urban design forum 09 - newsletter - May 2017

A&DS is pleased to share outputs from the latest meeting of the Local Authority Urban Design Forum (LAUDF), held at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation on 25th May 2017 on the theme of access. 

The afternoon, co-chaired by Una Lee (Highland Council) and Susan Fulton (East Ayrshire Council), was packed with a mix of presentations and discussion workshops focussing on “Engaging communities in design for all-abilities access and movement”. Participants shared learning about what Local Authorities could stop/ start/ do more of in terms of engaging communities to improve access and movement in urban areas.

Key learning points

  • The public sector has an important role in leading the way – just as it did in mainstreaming charrettes and other activities that raise design standards
  • For good place-making to succeed, it must include effective engagement on access and movement
  • The term ‘shared space’ is open to interpretation and can be misunderstood or misused
  • Not all street design interventions can or should be described as shared spaces.
  • Prepare for complexity and criticism – not everyone will get what they want from engagement
  • Focus on where and how to engage – find places people already gather
  • Reach out for feedback from street users, rather than engaging solely with ‘stakeholders’ 
  • Make sure your communications and venues accessible 
  • Consider co-production to ensure those affected by decisions or developments are involved from the start, and can contribute to the process through to its conclusion and beyond
  • Local context is important – just because a particular solution works somewhere else doesn’t mean it will work locally
  • Be outcome focused - what will happen if we do this? It’s not about the product or output, but the impacts.


With thanks for their contributions to Kevin Argue – East Dunbartonshire Council, Morven Brooks – Scottish Disability Equality Forum, Paul Ruffles – Sustrans, Penny Morriss – Living Streets, Dr Katherine Brookfield – University of Edinburgh, Etive Currie – Place Standard Alliance and John Dales – Urban Movement.

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The Local Authority Urban Design Forum creates a space for networking for practitioners involved in urban design throughout Scotland. The Forum meets twice a year and the agenda is set by the members.

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