Dundee Housing Design Workshops, June 2023

Dundee Civic Trust, working with the Dundee Institute of Architects (DIA), organised successful housing design workshops that took place in June 2023 in the University of Dundee Department of Architecture and Urban Planning. The workshops’ aims were to achieve better design of housing in the city and to develop a template for developers, taking into account the need for compliance with the National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4). Numerous other organisations and professions contributed to the workshops: architects; planners; private and social housing developers; community groups; Scottish Water and others.

The outcome was a report with recommendations for housing design standards that the Trust and DIA would wish to see included in the new Dundee Local Development Plan 3, the preparation of which is now underway with a view to adoption in 2028.

29 recommendations have been refined from the workshops and will in due course be submitted to the city planners as part of the consultation for the above Plan. We expect the call for such contributions to be made in the spring of 2024.

The first three recommendations are fundamental to all proposed housing developments and their wider context. The remaining 26 relate to the basic principles of NPF4, which must be adopted by all Local Development Plans and applied in consideration of planning applications: transition to net zero emissions; conserving and recycling assets; local liveability; compact urban growth; and rebalancing development to create opportunities in areas of past decline whilst managing development in areas of high demand.

These recommendations challenge “the business as usual” approach we have seen in many of the housing developments in Dundee. Preliminary discussions have been held by the Trust and DIA with the City planners and we expect a lively debate to follow with stakeholders in the development and retrofit of housing.

We must insist that new housing developments are worthy of the City’s status as the only UK UNESCO City of Design.

Read our recommendations here.