Regenerating Communities

Design Charrettes


The Scottish Government is committed to giving more power to communities to take forward regeneration in their areas on their own terms.  Clearly communities are best placed to address inequalities and identify how their areas can be improved. The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill which is now being implemented gives people more powers to take over land and buildings and increase participation in local decision making.


Over the last five years DWA have been part of a small core team that have now undertaken more than twelve design charrettes in Johnstone South West, South West Wishaw, Port Glasgow, Elgin (two), Brechin, Clydebank, Greenock, Montrose, Arbroath, Monifieth, Kirriemuir and most recently Dunoon.  (8 part funded through the Scottish Government’s ‘Mainstreaming’ programme).  The fundamental aim is to involve local residents, business and stakeholders in planning the future of the town centre. A charrette is an intensive consultation that engages local people in the design of their community.


Over that period the team have sought to hone and refine our methodology, applying lessons learned and responding to the particular brief.  Our approach is characterised by three particular principles namely:

  • Using a core team of multi-disciplinary specialists: The core team includes specialists: : DWA – economic and community regeneration; Austin-Smith: Lord (A-S:L)- urban design/architecture Ryden- local property market; Transport Planning Ltd: movement & WAVEparticle: community artists
  • Involving young people: The Team has used a variety of techniques and events to involve young people in design charrettes including using social media (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram) to provide live updates prior to and during the charrette and targeted particularly at young people. Prior to the charrette we organise facilitated sessions in local schools. The sessions often use a large ‘floor plan map’ and other visual material. The sessions are organised in conjunction with teachers and set in the in the context of Curriculum for Excellence.
  • In situ animation: led by the WAVEparticle an arts organisation, who specialise in developing and delivering effective community engagement and treat engagement as an art form, will be in the area using different ways to make contact with the community.

Using Charrettes To Help Shape Local Development Plans
This Prospectus summarises the outcomes from two recent charrettes that Austin-Smith: Lord/Douglas Wheeler Associates Ltd (A-S:L/DWA) facilitated, with a team of specialists in Johnstone South West and South Wishaw, as part of the Scottish Government’s Sustainable Communities Initiative (SSCI) Mainstreaming Programme.

SSCI Charrette Mainstreaming Programme: Johnstone South West Charrette

DWA working with A-S:L is one of the four contractors appointed by the Scottish Government Directorate for the Built Environment to deliver locally driven design charrettes in Scotland – see  The Team won the first mini competition to deliver the Johnstone South West Design Charrette held on 1st-5th November 2011, focusing on the regeneration of the existing 290 hectare urban neighbourhood, working with Renfrewshire Council.  More than 300 people were involved including the Spateston Pre Five Group.

South West Wishaw Mini Charrette: south-west-wishaw-mini-charretteThe Mainstreaming programme was extended for a second year, with a focus on charrette projects supporting the production of Local Development Plans.  In March 2013 DWA working with A-S:L delivered the South West Wishaw Mini Charrette to review effective housing land issues in the area. North Lanarkshire Council went on to develop Call for Sites Criteria and Parameters from the charrette outcomes.  The Final Report can be found at

Pennywell & Muirhouse Central Area Masterplan & Implementation Plan: Providing local economic regeneration, stakeholder and community consultation input to the Masterplan to promote resilient area regeneration focussing on a mixed use centre for City of Edinburgh Council

GHA West End MSFs & North Maryhill Development Studies: Provided the economic development and wider regeneration input to the studies to assess the future of GHA housing.  Community involvement was crucial, working closely with local residents and Local Housing Organisations.   The final outputs included a sustainable Regeneration Action Plans.

Fernhill Masterplan: provided the neighbourhood regeneration input to the Masterplan that included testing the feasibility of a new mixed use neighbourhood centre with a community facility for South Lanarkhire Council and West of Scotland Housing Association.