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VISIONARY AND AMBITIOUS PLAN-MAKING creating better places for people report 2


VISIONARY AND AMBITIOUS PLAN-MAKING

creating better places for people

From 2009 to 2011, A+DS has engaged with Planning Authorities across Scotland to explore approaches to delivering ‘visionary and ambitious’ plans consistent with the spirit of the reform of the Planning System. The purpose of this series of three short reports set out lessons learned. The series has been written and edited by Andrew Guest [a journalist who writes about design and the environment] following a review of the outputs of the visioning processes, consultation with the Planning Authority staff and engagement with A+DS. The three reports in the series comprise: •

Report 1: Key Characteristics of the Visioning Process This report summarises the processes, techniques, skills and values of the visioning processes tested at a range of scales from Strategic Development Plan to small town level Report 2: Case Studies - this report The case studies set out a short précis of the visioning processes in the five locations. These include visioning at Strategic Development Plan [SDP] level with Tayplan; visioning at the small city scale in the new Local Development Plan [LDP] process in Stirling and Inverness; visioning at the district scale and area guidance level at Edinburgh Waterfront, and; visioning at the small town scale in Neilston, East Renfrewshire. Report 3: Overview and lessons learned This report is a set of reflections by Andrew Guest on what worked and what could be improved from the evidence of the case studies. It is set in the context of the objective of achieving better places in Scotland, the issues and challenges this presents, and how visionary plans can help.


VISIONARY AND AMBITIOUS PLAN-MAKING creating better places for people

Introduction As the Government’s ‘champion for good architecture, design and planning in the built environment’, Architecture and Design Scotland [A+DS] focused a significant part of its 2009/10/11 urbanism programme on working closely with a selected group of planning authorities to demonstrate a variety of ways of producing plans and spatial strategies that were both visionary and concise.

FIVE SCALES - FIVE PROJECTS 1. Strategic Development Plan preparation: TAYplan 2. Local Development Plan preparation: Stirling 3. City Vision preparation: Inverness 4. Town Plan preparation: Neilston 5. Area Development Framework: Edinburgh Waterfront and Leith

This programme was prompted by the Scottish Government’s expectation, as expressed in the 2008 Circular ‘Delivering Planning Reform’ that both Strategic and Local Development Plans should be ‘concise, visionary documents’ which communicated clearly to all public and private stakeholders, individuals and communities a shared aspiration for what that place wants to be in 20 years’ time. The visioning programme ran across the scales of place, from placemaking at regional scale, through to small city, city district and small town. The purpose of this report is to sets out a description of the process and outcomes in each of the five case study areas. The case studies are: • • • • •

Strategic Development Plan preparation: Tayplan Local Development Plan preparation: Stirling City vision preparation: Inverness Town plan preparation: Neilston Area Development Framework: Edinburgh Waterfront and Leith

This report forms the second part of a series of reports on the visioning processes facilitated by A+DS. The first part, ‘Key Characteristics’ describes the visioning processes in general in terms of techniques, skills, resources and engagement. The third part ‘Lessons Learned’ sets out a series of reflections on what worked and what didn’t in meeting the agenda of building better places through the visioning exercises.

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TAYplan visioning at the regional scale

The situation TAYplan is the Strategic Development Planning Authority for Dundee City, Perth, Angus and North Fife, charged with producing the first Strategic Development Plan for what is otherwise known as the Dundee City Region. Three other Strategic Development Planning Authorities in Scotland are delivering similar plans for the City Regions of Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Each Strategic Development Plan (SDP) has to look 20 years ahead, but will be reviewed every four years. Each plan is prepared by a small core team, who engage a group of key agencies specified by the Planning Act, and work in conjunction with a ‘virtual team’ of officers from the constituent local authorities that make up the plan area. The very first meeting between the TAYplan core team and the Heads of Service from the four local authorities agreed that ‘quality of life’ and ‘quality of place’ were key end-products envisaged for the Plan, and that the Plan should – • • •

provide an effective framework for achieving sustainable economic growth and responding to the Climate Change Act commit to a step change in delivering better quality outcomes in terms of the development process and what came out the ground embed design thinking in a statutory document, translate national policy for the TAYplan area and set both the context and a common language for the production of the individual Local Development Plans and any Supplementary Planning Guidance

The TAYplan core team were keen to document the ‘quality of place’ discussion throughout the preparation of the plan in order to be open and transparent.

The plan preparation and visioning process

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Although A+DS are not designated as one of the key stakeholders for the preparation of Strategic Development Plans, because ‘quality of place’ was identified early on as a key focus for TAYplan, the core team invited A+DS to work with them on the preparation of the plan from the initial awareness raising stage. They wanted the core team, the key stakeholder group (comprising 13 organisations) and the ‘virtual team’ of constituent local authorities all to benefit from A+DS’ expertise and specialist input throughout the period of the preparation of the plan. A+DS made an initial response to the question ‘what are the key issues for TAYplan?’ and effectively became a member of the key stakeholder group throughout the preparation of the Main Issues Report and the Proposed Plans stage. In this stage A+DS’ input was crucial to the important agreement, after much debate, that ‘quality of place’ was an issue for strategic planning, as opposed to something that only had bearing on local planning. To reach this agreement A+DS helped articulate the meaning of ‘quality of place’ so that people could understand how it could be applied across the separate boundaries of the whole TAYplan area so as to achieve a consistency both of process and of development outcomes. This approach involved A+DS helping the TAYplan partners with 3 stages of analysis – • • •

Understand the place Understand change, where it comes from, what forms it can take and the relative values of assets and opportunities Understand the process of managing change

A+DS also proposed the need to understand the TAYplan area with a common language that could work simultaneously at 3 scales – • • •

strategic landscape scale the networked settlements and the space between the settlements the settlements themselves

Much of the work carried out by the core team and A+DS, and A+DS working with key stakeholders such as SNH and SEPA on major issues such as climate change, has been published as topic papers that sit behind the Proposed Plan. Time-scale: A+DS’ involvement with TAYplan took place between August 2009 and June 2010.

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Key skills, issues and factors critical to the outcome of the work • • • • • • • •

Input from an early stage of an independent and often challenging critique to the process, and of knowledge of relevant practice elsewhere. Support for the TAYplan manager’s view that addressing the quality of place issue was a strategic planning consideration. Creative urban design skills An understanding of place-making at a strategic level. An understanding of the place of the TAYPlan area. Ability to explain strategic frameworks graphically, which can be used nationally An independent understanding of how local government works and about the process of making strategic and local development plans. The funding to be able to buy in additional expertise.

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Stirling visioning at the whole Council area scale

The situation A+DS first engaged in strategic conversations with Stirling Council through proposals coming from Stirling Council to A+DS for Design Review: A+DS’ first strategic engagement with local authorities often takes place in this way. From this experience came the shared realisation that although the Community Planning Partnership had developed a long-term vision for a growth in population from 90,000 to 100,000 there was no clear picture of what kind of a place Stirling wanted to be, what would attract an additional 10,000 people to come and live in this place and where this growth should take place – for example should it be dispersed across the Council area or concentrated in the urban area. This ‘identity crisis’ for Stirling became more evident since it acquired City status in 2002. Stirling is a small city in which both urban and landscape values are equally prominent and in which nearly half of the population live in rural communities. The planning authority at Stirling was clear that they wanted to prepare their new Local Development Plan differently to how they had done such plans in the past. They did not want it to be numbers-led or, as often happens, dominated by any one sector or issue. At this point A+DS proposed the production of a City Vision that would feed into the production of the Main Issues Report.

‘...what kind of place do we want to be?’

The first question posed by A+DS ‘what kind of a place do you want to create?’ struck a chord with the council and gave them the key to a process that could be inclusive from its earliest stages and which brought the preparation of the plan to life for a broad range of stakeholders, and could bring life to the preparation of the plan.

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The visioning process Workshop 3 (full day - 16 July 2009) - Visioning the future of the city centre. Using the British Council’s Future Cities game, the city vision group that had already been established were brought into the overall visioning process through a focus on the social, economic, environmental and cultural factors influencing the function and character of the city centre area. Workshop 4 (half day - 6 August 2009) - Final review. On the basis of the first three workshops the University of Strathclyde Urban Studies Unit presented a strategic spatial model for Stirling which assessed the possible ways in which the growth of the Stirling Council area might be managed, and what this might mean in terms of spatial structures and urban form. A discussion took place to capture 3 key principles for the development of the city – enhancing urban form, enhancing public space, enhancing natural heritage and historic landscape. From this, 9 spatial concepts were proposed, in 3 groups – strategic connections, cross cutting structures, city functions. The four workshops took place over a period of less than two months, and were attended by an average of 34 people (many people attended more than one workshop). A final City Vision report, including a summary of the major inputs provided by the independent experts, was prepared for Stirling Council by A+DS in the months after the visioning workshops were held. This set out a justification for the projects and concepts identified in terms of the relationship to national objectives and the Stirling Single Outcome Agreement and some principles for delivery in terms of partners, priorities and scales. The document remains key background information to the LDP. Time-scale: Initial discussions with Stirling Council took place in May 2009. The workshops took place from June to August 2009. The final draft City Vision report was produced in January 2010. As a follow-on to the more focused work on the city centre, an ‘Urban ideas bakery’ took place in October 2010.

Key skills, issues and factors critical to the outcome of the work While acknowledging that the City Vision process was only part of the job of preparing the LDP, Stirling found that it provided an excellent starting-point for the production of the Main Issues Report, and that the question ‘what kind of a place do you want to be’ proved to be a useful

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developing a strategic spatial concept


focus for subsequent consultation about the plan with community groups across the Council area. The process provided a key starting-point for the preparation of the LDP, and has continued to have value in reminding officers and key agencies of the plan’s central focus on the broader values of place, and some of the main challenges for Stirling in determining why it wants to grow and what form it wants this growth to take. Officers still apply some of the principles first learnt while being part of the visioning process, in terms of attempting to engage a broader audience in what they do. They also continue to use the justification and delivery parts of the report as starting-points for the preparation of the action stages of the plan. The visioning process also raised awareness across the Council of the spatial implications of sustainable economic development and how this related to the specific context of Stirling, and enhanced design capacity for Council staff.

‘...the process raised awareness of the spatial implications of sustainable economic development...’

A key value of the visioning process for the Council seems to be the degree to which posing the question ‘what kind of a place do we want to be?’ created a focal point for looking forward and engaging holistically and with a wide range of interest groups with the future of Stirling as a place. Interestingly, Stirling say they have not yet answered this question. This perhaps indicates that even though a visioning component of plan-making can be ‘short and sharp’, this question remains a big question which can only be properly answered with longterm application.

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Inverness visioning at the scale of a small city

The situation From experience of schemes going through Design Review, A+DS and planners from Highland Council had concluded that the lack of a spatial plan for the city was making it very difficult to ensure that the development of what was then one of Europe’s fastest growing cities was producing the right benefits for the whole city. A City Vision for Inverness had been prepared for Inverness’ bid for city status in 2003, but this was primarily a marketing document, contained no spatial planning components and had no ability to inform future development. The planning department also recognised that they needed additional input to make the new Local Development Plan for Inverness the kind of visionary document to which they aspired and to link the themes of the Highland Council Single Outcome Agreement in Inverness to the principles of spatial planning and design for the city. The plan preparation and visioning process A similar model to the process in Stirling was proposed, but adapted for the different circumstances of Highland Council, and to the more defined focus on the City of Inverness. The proposed programme had 7 stages –

growth of Inverness across 135 years

Stage 1. A capacity check that looked at constraints and opportunities as a background to setting out on the process and to feed into recommendation for training to be provided by the Improvement Service

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Stage 2. Baseline analysis. As in Stirling some of the baseline work was provided by the analysis of the growth of Inverness over the last 100 years carried out as part of the study of 50 Scottish towns by the University of Strathclyde Urban Studies Unit. Stage 3. Formation of City Vision Team. An important part of the Inverness process was the formation of the Council’s 15-member City Vision Team, which comprised planners, transportation officers, landscape officer, engineer, ward officer, regeneration adviser and housing development officer; confidence in the team was gradually built to enable it to take an approach based on an analysis of the place that was Inverness, rather than thinking in terms of importing what was seen as best practice examples from other places - such as Malmo or Venice. Early on in the process A+DS were able to convince the Inverness Area Committee of councillors from Highland Council of the value and relevance of the process and this helped give the process a momentum. Buy-in from other organisations with an interest in the process, but external to Highland Council, such as the Inverness Old Town Art group, was also important in giving life to the process. Stage 4. Visioning events. Three separate sessions of the British Council Future City game were held on 3 consecutive days in January 2010 to ‘warm up’ the participants and generate a first batch of ideas. mapping character areas (above) ......and their qualities (left)

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The first event was focused on young people and attended by over 30 people from Inverness schools and from the Calman Trust. The second two events were attended by over 45 representatives from the public, voluntary, private and community sectors, including a number of architects and artists and a number of Highland Council staff. Other workshops were subsequently held to test ideas that came out of the Future City session and begin to see how these might play out in spatial terms. These workshops were facilitated by Willie Miller Urban Design and/or A+DS, including events that aligned this process with the work of A+DS’ Healthcare team at Raigmore Hospital, the location of which emerged as a key area of development in the scenarios. The best ideas and themes were prioritised and then fed into a conceptual spatial plan presented by A+DS to a Symposium, held in July 2010. This symposium marked the first compilation of all the work carried out, and an opportunity to test it against the views of a broad local audience. Invitations were sent to all those who had attended the previous workshops, to Heads of Council Services, the City Vision Team and to local groups. Press adverts and mentions on social networking sites and blogs invited any members of the public to attend. 60 people attended the event on the night. the Longman area - existing (below) and proposed design framework (bottom)

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Stage 5. Draft design guidance. The plan for Inverness identified 3 primary areas in the city deserving of special attention – the A9 corridor, the waterfront area and an area of local neighbourhoods to the south – 2 elements that provided linkage across the city (the canal/river/green link and a spider network of pedestrian and cycle routes), and a third element, the city heart. This spatial structure for the city also constituted a clear mental map of Inverness and went on to form the basis of agreeing 3 priority areas (Longman, Ness-side and Raigmore) for which spatial frameworks would be drafted. Working across all these levels is a series of cross-cutting strategies that set out the quality ambitions and design standards for the development of the city. These include – • • • •

a public art framework for the city integrated public realm and movement strategy a sustainability framework for the city which sets out parameters and standards for integrated resource management, (waste, energy, water etc) a design charter which sets out the design ambitions for the city

Stage 6. Testing. As the process proceeded, A+DS, Willie Miller Urban Design and Nick Wright of Nick Wright Planning worked up ideas that emerged, and supported officials from Highland Council in interpreting these and feeding them into a gradually increasing spatial picture of Inverness. Stage 7. Implementation. Before finalising the City Vision report and publishing it for consultation the Council felt that they needed to insert a set of action plans to more clearly relate some of the ideas and work in the vision report to potential development on the ground. Time-scale. The initial time-scale for the project was March 2009 to December 2009. The time-scale became extended with the rounding-up symposium being held finally in July 2010. At time of writing the final report by the Council is still being prepared for publication and consultation. Key skills, issues and factors critical to the outcome of the work Even before the City Vision had been finalised some of its key conclusions formed the starting-point for development briefs prepared by Highland Council for the city centre and for other priority areas identified as part of the visioning process. Highland Council found that the process really helped to engage people in thinking differently about the future of Inverness and that it has provided them with an excellent ‘tool’ that they continue to use to communicate bigger picture aspirations for the city.

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It has also given their planners ‘more teeth’ in their development role and in particular has confirmed the importance for them of consolidating the work already started in the core of the city and the need to control more firmly the city’s development to the east. Key to the process were the skills in urban design, facilitation introduced to the process and the selection and project management of other consultants, together with the enthusiasm, creativity and persuasiveness that the external consultants were able to bring. Highland Council councillors particularly valued A+DS’ input for its independence, its national position and its authority. The graduate planners from Highland Council who took part in the process benefitted particularly from working with A+DS and the other consultants and learnt to think differently about their work. Highland Council speak strongly in support of not taking a formulaic approach to the preparation of an LDP, but of the benefits of taking an aspirational overview of the future of a place through this kind of visioning process. They would encourage other authorities to carry this out at an early start of their LDP process, and to agree a firm plan and time-scale for this work; they also stressed the importance of getting buy-in from as wide a range of colleagues as possible from the start and of ensuring that the aspirational aspects of the process are balanced by a sufficient measure of practicality. Highland Council commented that it is particularly important to draw up and adhere to a clear timetable for such a process, and clear agreement of the input of external consultants.

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Neilston visioning at the small town scale

The situation The work in Neilston illustrates visioning at the scale of a small town of some 5000 people. The programme followed was the first application in Scotland of the ‘Renaissance Towns’ process (pioneered in Yorkshire and advocated in Scotland by the Urban Lab at the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow). The process of drawing up a Town Charter was initiated by the Neilston Development Trust (NDT) which was formed in 2004 as a locally-owned development vehicle to promote the regeneration of this small town. The process was strengthened by the active involvement of stakeholders such as the Council, Community Council, Housing Association , Tenent and Residents groups, under the title of the Neilston Village Regeneration Group (which evolved into the town team), who embraced NDT’s longer term vision.The need for a place to know its ‘reason-to-be’ is perhaps most pressing in a small town, where a shift from the economies and supporting networks of the past can often be felt more keenly than at the larger scale of a city or region. The Neilston Town Team envisaged that a new plan for Neilston, initiated by the people of Neilston, would build on the key assets of this place the people themselves, their skills, their stake in the place, the village’s location, its relationship to the surrounding countryside, its connections and the characteristics that, though much eroded, still made Neilston distinctive. Planning and design therefore becomes intimately related to lives and outcomes – design is not for design’s sake. The plan preparation and visioning process The programme was modelled on the Renaissance Towns process, but adapted from its original application in the very different funding climate of the English regions in the 1980’s. The process was supported principally by the Urban Lab at the Mackintosh School of Architecture (Glasgow School of Art) with input from the consultancy Urban Design Skills, full engagement and support of East Renfrewshire Council and A+DS.

‘build on the key assets of the place ...design is not for design’s sake’

Stage 1. Formation of Town Team. An initial awareness-raising stage led to the formation of a Town Team composed of 150 people who volunteered to take part in a 3-month process to produce the new vision for Neilston. Stage 2. The visioning process. The Town Team took part in a series of 6 meetings between January and April 2009. In parallel with this, design awareness training events were undertaken for officers and members of East Renfrewshire Council. A town charrette took place over one weekend at the end of March 2009.

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Stage 3. Production of the plan. The final document ‘The Neilston Renaissance Town Charter’ documents the whole process and sets out the community’s vision for Neilston in 2030. Using an appraisal of Neilston’s current assets as a foundation for the vision it lists three categories of work proposed to regenerate Neilston – • • •

Town-Wide Initiatives (public realm, key streets) Key Development Projects (specific sites or areas with major potential) Sustainable Patterns (the scope for food or energy production and town-wide communication issues)

All of these projects are ranked in terms of overall scale, time-scale for delivery and relevance to the Scottish Government’s 6 national outcomes. A+DS’ input to the Neilston process has continued since the publication of the Charter by supporting the implementation of one of the Charter’s action points – an Infill Development Strategy and Design Guide for Neilston - and by supporting a visioning process in Barrhead to show how the process could work in different types of places in East Renfrewshire. Timetable The first meeting of the Town Team was held in January 2009. The Town Charter was published in June 2009. Key skills, issues and factors critical to the outcome of the work The Neilston process illustrates key visioning elements at a local level – • • •

• • •

The need for local involvement (in this case provided by the Neilston Town Team, and the long-term input of the Neilston Development Trust). The need for the process to incorporate a method of knowledge transfer between skilled and un-skilled participants (in this case in the form of workshops and the charrette). The need for the local to link to the national, so that any development proposals could be seen to relate clearly to national targets for and that potential supporting agencies could see how they fitted into appropriate delivery and funding streams. The need to identify early action projects to promote early delivery of agreements. The need to have a framework of project planning and governance to maintain the momentum behind the process and provide feedback to the people involved. Experience in running workshops and the programming of the charrette, and knowledge about appropriate external expertise to support the workshops. One important skill that was brought into the process was the ability to talk about urban design and place-making in simple language. This was credited with having a major input to

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• community ownership of the outcome

enthusing and engaging members of the public, council staff and councillors. The endorsement and support of a national body gave the local authority and its officers confidence to proceed with the project and to see it through.

Funding – the process was funded by East Renfrewshire Council and Barrhead Housing Association, but additional funds from the Planning Exchange Foundation and A+DS played a critical role in supporting the whole process. The Neilston process is an example of a successful process that involved collaboration between a range of complementary partners and produced (in the Town Charter) an extremely tangible and clear end-product, over a comparatively short time-scale.

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Edinburgh - Waterfront and Leith visioning at an area scale

The situation The City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) is currently prioritising four areas of the city as a focus for regeneration. Two of these areas, the Waterfront/ Leith area and an area stretching from Holyrood to Haymarket known as the ‘Southern Arc’, were felt to require a closer examination that was designed to ‘deliver a coherent strategic direction for broad areas of the city within which individual masterplans can be prepared, describe how individual areas can physically evolve and, importantly, how the Council and its partners can facilitate place-making.’ The term ‘Area Development Framework’ was coined for the plan that would result from this strategic focus on individual areas. In his 5-year role as City Design Champion, one of Sir Terry Farrell’s approaches to Edinburgh had been to home in on certain key areas of opportunity in the city – the ‘City Tiles’, of which Edinburgh’s Waterfront was one. The ADF process was seen as in part reviving this design focus on the city, which had stalled somewhat since Farrell’s departure in 2009; this fresh approach also aimed to bring all relevant council services together to see how they could apply their separate priorities and resources in a joined up manner, and to do this in conjunction with other stake-holders in that area, such as landowners, communities and special interest groups. The ADF was seen as taking as its starting point the current Edinburgh City Local Plan but as being able to feed into the forthcoming Local Development Plan. Prompted in part by events held by the Scottish Government in 2010 promoting the charrette-based work of Andres Duany, CEC decided to take a charrette-based approach to drawing up Area Development Frameworks for the Waterfront-Leith area and the Southern Arc. Another influence on CEC’s approach were the ‘Areas of Opportunity Planning Frameworks’ prepared by the office of the Mayor of London’s in conjunction with individual London boroughs. This case study focuses on the production of the Waterfront-Leith ADF. The plan preparation and visioning process Following Committee approval in late 2009, a Project Board was established for the work, involving representatives from services within City Development (including Planning, Transport, Economic Development, and Property) as well as the NHS, with whom CEC are involved in the delivery of services in the Waterfront-Leith area. A+DS sat on this Board, and helped CEC devise a process to involve three charrettes and the production of a draft Area Development Framework by the end of 2010. Stage 1. With the aim of arriving at an internal consensus before engaging with external stakeholders, representatives of relevant CEC service areas (and the NHS) were invited to consider potential areas for collaboration or overlap between different services, and a notion of service priorities in the Waterfront-Leith area, together with a review of development on report 2: visionary and ambitious plan-making - case studies | 21


a visioning workshop event

the ground to date and the role of the Waterfront-Leith area in the future development of Edinburgh. They brought these to a half-day ‘internal charrette’ held on 30 July 2010, which was facilitated by Riccardo Marini, the Council’s City Design Leader and Diarmaid Lawlor, Head of Urbanism at A+DS. At the charrette participants also discussed – • • •

what is the quality of PLACE ambition for Edinburgh Waterfront and what needs to be done to achieve it? what is the quality of life ambition for Edinburgh Waterfront? what is the quality of service ambition for Edinburgh Waterfront, and how can this be achieved through joined up working?

The key messages from this first session were: • •

general agreement that a new approach to the regeneration of the Waterfront / Leith was required recognition that there was a lack of integration between the development that had taken place at the Waterfront / Leith and the existing communities in north Edinburgh and the city centre beyond

A report was produced and checked with participants before going onto the next stage Stage 2. Four weeks after the ‘internal charette’ CEC hired an empty shop unit in Leith for a day-long ‘external charrette’ on 26 August 2010, to which it invited a range of people from the Council’s ‘consultation

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mapping studies for Leith


database’ including elected members, community groups, public agencies, institutions, landowners and others with an interest in the area. Several other people applied independently to take part and were admitted by the Council. Together with a small number of relevant Council staff over 50 people took part in the day, which was again planned and facilitated by A+DS. Additional design and planning input to the group was incorporated by inviting the attendance of architects and planners from the Edinburgh Architectural Association and the Royal Town Planning Institute. The day started with a presentation about ‘Place Resilience’ by Neil McInroy from the Centre for Local Economic Strategies: this focused on the framework for measuring resilience by looking at the three economies of place – the Public, the Social and the Commercial. Participants considered together Positives and Negatives about the Waterfront-Leith area and then grouped round ‘Planning Tables’ to answer three questions – Q1. What kind of place will the Waterfront be if we continue to do what we have been doing? Q2. What kind of place would we like the Waterfront to be? Q3. How might we make the Waterfront more resilient? They then applied their thinking to what emerged naturally as three key focal points in the area – Leith, Newhaven and Granton. By the end of the day participants were able to summarise their collective thoughts in a diagram which identified a series of primary, secondary and tertiary ‘Hearts’ in the area, key green spaces, key commercial areas and key routes or connections within and beyond the area. A report was again produced and checked with participants before going onto the next stage. Stage 3. CEC worked up these ideas into diagrams which developed the notion of ‘hearts’ and ‘links’ into a more tangible proposal for the creation of a Great City Street, Neighbourhood Streets, Nodes and a Green Network; together with other outputs from the ‘external charrette’ these were presented to a half-day ‘Outcomes and Scenarios charrette’ held in October 2010 which was attended by all who had attended both previous charrettes, plus additional invitees. Stage 4. To further strengthen the final ADF document, and in part also to help sell the outcomes of the charrettes to existing landowners, who were noted as having taken part in the process somewhat reluctantly, and also to ‘engage with the wider design community’ in Edinburgh, CEC, with the further support and advice of A+DS, commissioned three architects to take the three ‘Heart’ areas and produce concept drawings showing how those areas could develop over time without prejudicing the development of the wider area or plans already in place in those areas. Malcolm Fraser

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worked on Newhaven, Alistair Scott of Smith, Scott, Mullan worked on Leith and Ed Taylor of The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment worked on Granton. The drawings presented by each architect were subsequently re-worked by A+DS before taking their place in the draft ADF together with iteration of more detailed urban design proposals for the three areas drafted principally by A+DS. A+DS also provided further concept sketches which CEC technicians worked up into diagrams for the more detailed section on urban design guidance, place infrastructure guidance. The draft ADF was published in February 2011. A shortened document, accompanied by an Action Plan, was presented to Planning Committee in May 2011. The Council say that while the document is not of the nature of an SPG, they ‘will attach considerable weight to the document and its proposals in the assessment of major planning applications within the defined ‘Waterfront Area of Change’ and at other key locations within the ADF study area.’ Timetable The Project Board was established in late 2009. The final charette took place in October 2010 and the draft ADF was published in February 2011. Key skills, issues and factors critical to the outcome of the work CEC valued A+DS’ knowledge of similar work, and experience in planning and facilitating such a process, and advise on other specialist input, and shape the outputs. The key skills brought into the process from outwith the Council were the ability to articulate ideas about urban design and place-making and to communicate these in words, pictures and diagrams. Edinburgh also valued A+DS’ ability to communicate at a senior level and ‘with a common touch’. The value of participation in the project by an authoritative independent external body was also noted; on occasions this helped to defuse tensions arising between the council and some attendees and it ‘helped emphasise the collaborative nature of the initiative’. As a process, CEC feel that it brought people together who would not normally have come together without such an opportunity - community councils in particular were pleased to have been involved. They expressed some disappointment that there was not a greater diversity of viewpoints expressed in the process. They were particularly disappointed by the lack of engagement of the landowners in the Waterfront/Leith process. This may indicate that the right approach was not taken to doing this, and that in a city such as Edinburgh it is harder to 24 | report 2: visionary and ambitious plan-making - case studies

‘...a level of guidance ...which will be a useful tool in achieving a better end result’


devise a process that can satisfactorily engage with the greater range and variety of stakeholders, when more is also at stake. However CEC are convinced that as a result of the process they now have a level of design guidance for this area that is above what is in planning policy or the local plan, and which (at least until it is tested) will be a useful tool in achieving a better end-result for development in the Waterfront/ Leith area.

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Visionary and Ambitiious Plan-making Report 2