Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative
The Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative (SSCI) is a Scottish-Government led initiative to encourage the creation of places, designed and built to last, where a high quality of life can be achieved. The initiative has identified 11 exemplar projects, which are considered best capable of providing a basis for demonstrating how sustainable communities can be delivered. The projects are in different locations across the country, representing a variety of different types and scale of development. The projects share the goal of delivering attractive, healthy and accessible environments in which people can settle, work and enjoy a high quality of life whilst reducing their carbon emissions. As part of the SSCI programme, the SSCI Charrette Series, conducted by DPZ, provided three exemplar sites with the opportunity to develop masterplans that promote sustainable design, whilst enabling a new level of public engagement in the placemaking process. All three SSCI charrettes offered their teams the chance to explore masterplanning in an interactive public forum. These ‘hands-on’ workshops saw local ideas introduced, debated and translated into specific community plans, which will ultimately prove relevant to the Scottish development community at large.
The SSCI charrettes were unique in their scope and speed, integrating local consultants. The DPZ team engaged directly with each of the local communities to determine the issues and solutions. Each charrette involved meetings with both the general public and specialised groups. These were carefully convened by invitation. Feedback was incorporated directly into the drawings. Between and even during meetings the design team prepared the necessary plans, illustrations, architecture and diagrams. All were developed on-site within each 5 - 8 day charrette in the presence of the public.
The SSCI Charrette Series heralded a shift in Scottish development practice towards more informed and more effective working. Piloted on the three different projects in notably different contexts, the SSCI charrettes have highlighted a number of benefits from this innovative design approach and process. The lessons learned from the SSCI Charrette Series can be harnessed and methods adapted for different projects across the country.