Shaping Places at Edinburgh Council

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Shaping Places
City of Edinburgh Council, Urban Room
Monday 18th November to Friday 13th December 2013

A+DS is pleased to support City of Edinburgh Council in hosting the Shaping Places exhibition.

The exhibition, now on public view at the Council’s Urban Room, summarises thinking from the last collaborative publication between Professor David Adams and Dr. Steve Tiesdell. ‘Shaping Places’ explores how towns and cities can turn real estate development to their advantage to create better places.

An After Dark Debate at the City of Edinburgh Council on Tuesday 19th November launched the exhibition. Professor David Adams set out the book’s principle findings, with responses from a panel including Lynn Smith (EDI Group), Steve Tolson (RICS) and Diarmaid Lawlor (A+DS). A lively debate was chaired by Riccardo Marini, City Design Leader. A summary of some key discussion points is included below:

  • The importance of differentiating between cost and value in the development process and the need to view place-making as an investment process and take a long term view (it takes 20+ years to make a place)
  • The importance of state participation in place-making to drive strategic market transformation – eg CEC / EDI group at Fountainbridge, Dundee Waterfront…
  • The issues with a planning system that creates plans, but doesn’t necessarily take a leading role in driving delivery
  • The absence of a recognized ‘story’ about self-build in Scotland – the potential for and barriers to wider application of self-build / co-operative build projects
  • Dealing with complexity – successful place-making involves negotiating complicated structures and relationships and requires co-operation across long timeframes
  • The importance of genuine community involvement in the development process – eg in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh this is improving place value.
  • Place is investment – if not provided by those who build then those who occupy must provide that
  • The responsibility for public sector led place-making to influence for wider improvements to access and public realm (thinking out-with site boundaries)
  • The importance of capturing and sharing learning about successes within Scotland
  • The potential impact of Scottish Government’s plans for a placemaking standard, along similar lines to Building for Life
  • The need for grown-up discussions about the role of density
  • Need for political buy-in to transform processes – importance of taking the long-term view beyond 5 year political cycle
  • The likely need for wider state intervention to address strategic issues such as housing supply, delivery of infrastructure. Land supply is key to this.

The exhibition, which runs until the 13th December, aims to raise awareness of current academic thinking on urban design and inform development practice towards the creation of better places in Scotland.

Key principles from the book are presented as well as 7�visual case studies of exemplar developments from across Europe, with images drawn from the Steve Tiesdell Legacy Collection on flickr.

Shaping Places was previously exhibited by A+DS at the Lighthouse.

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