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Urban Design Compendium


Case Study 021 - Enabling public engagement in the place-making process

021 - Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative, Charrette Series

        Through the Charrette Series, the Scottish Government aims to promote new approaches to sustainable planning while enabling a very high level of public engagement in the place-making process. The Series forms part of the Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative (SSCI), launched in 2008 to encourage the creation of places that are ambitious and inspiring.

The SSCI attracted significant interest with 68 projects submitted as potential exemplar project, some being promoted through the local plans process and others already established site allocations. The charrette process was piloted in three of the selected SSCI exemplar projects to establish how community planning can benefit future proposals.

A charrette is an intense design workshop that takes place over a number of days, in which the public, local professionals and stakeholders work directly with a specialised design team to generate community masterplans aimed at delivering better quality places. The Series is designed to provide a very high level of community engagement in a dynamic and rapid process, with the aim to create high quality plans and outcomes that relate to individual community needs and aspirations.

An initial series of design charrettes was held in 2010 in Ladyfield, Dumfries; Lochgelly, Fife; and Grandhome, Aberdeen. These featured large public presentations, encouraging local communities to help formulate visions and masterplans for their areas, and also included several specific meetings for special interest groups. Building on the success of the Series the Scottish Government has launched a new charrette programme, aimed at adopting the approach to new development throughout the planning and design process. Proposals for Callander, Johnstone and Girvan will form part of the next phase of the initiative, the “Charrette Mainstreaming Programme”.

Speaking about the Programme, Minister for Local Government and Planning, Aileen Campbell, said: “It is essential that we value and capitalise upon the deep understanding and knowledge held by communities about the places in which they live and work. Charrettes can harness that knowledge, giving communities a real voice, and translating this into well-informed plans for places that are sustainable, healthy and that provide the best opportunities for our communities to flourish.”.

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UDC2 Section - Sowing the Seed 

The Charette Series have been effective in actively engaging the wider community in the design and development process.

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