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Dundee: Vision for 2040

The Trust’s Vision for Dundee in 2040:

  • a diversified city centre with strengthened city neighbourhoods as places for people to live, work, learn and visit;
  • A ’20-minute city’, where everyone can walk or cycle for essential needs and one that is compact with limits to
    the expansion of the built-up area;
  • a well-connected city with opportunities for all its people, achieved by developing skills, fostering business innovation and supporting our learning institutions and attractions;
  • a city where the best in design is encouraged to enhance our unique environmental setting and heritage.

These are aspirations; and with cooperation and foresight many of them will be achievable in the
timeframe that we are considering.

Read the full Vision document here.

Dundee Maritime Trail

Recently launched, Dundee’s new Maritime Trail has been the product of nine different bodies and individuals whose work has brought together Dundee’s connection with its maritime world. The trail covers a two kilometre route going east from the V&A.

There is a great (and still being developed) website which can be accessed here:

The website gives you detailed information on 21 parts of the trail as well as providing a downloadable map. It is very up to date, with information on the development at Waterfront Place, east of V&A Dundee, which is under construction.  It states, ‘The landscape has been designed to reflect coastal geography with dune-like landscaping leading down to an urban beach. A maritime themed interactive play park and a travel hub building with cycle hire will also be available.’

There are lots of links to other online resources and various videos so there is plenty to occupy you. Various historical photographs of the area may also be viewed, so you can see how things have changed over the years. This website is well worth a visit and the contributors are to be congratulated for producing another valuable resource for the city and the tourists visiting Dundee.


Esports Arena

We have heard that the architects who are taking part in the feasibility study for the proposed esports arena to the east of Slessor Gardens are no longer to be acting for the developers, Northern Lights Arena (NLA) Europe.

This is a setback, but it is to be hoped that the developers are sufficiently committed to make further progress with this exciting venture, which is so appropriate for Dundee.

Our Vision for Dundee

In a changing world, our cities will be very different places in twenty years’ time. Dundee Civic Trust has spent the last few months preparing its Vision for 2040.

We foresee the possibility of Dundee as a dynamic, compact city; a well-connected city both physically and digitally; a sustainable city pursuing net zero emissions; a learning city; a city with a clear identity that builds on its economic strengths and natural assets; and a city where people want to live, work, learn and visit.

Read the full document here.

Virtual AGM – better late than never!

The Civic Trust held its Annual General Meeting by Zoom on Thursday 19 November, eight months behind schedule due to the effects of the Covid crisis. It was a brisk, low-key event, which at least permitted us to conclude our business for 2019-2020 and move forward. We venture to hope it will not be too long before our normal format of a real meeting with guest speaker and refreshments may take place again.


Psychedelia Rules!

Union Street has had a temporary make-over. No traffic for most of the day, just pedestrians enjoying the pollution-free former thoroughfare, and relaxing in the outside seating areas.

It’s quite a change, brought about by the creation of outside seating areas which use the road space that has been created by stopping traffic access between the hours of 11am and 4pm.  Access, strictly for deliveries, is allowed for vehicles prior to 11am and after 4pm.

The funding for the changes has come from ‘Spaces for People’ through Sustrans Scotland and in partnership with Dundee City Council. The execution and design input came from the Dundee UNESCO City of Design team, led by Annie Marrs, and was the result of a collaboration and discussion with the businesses who operate in Union Street.

Interestingly, this project uses pedestrianisation to deliver what is hoped will be a stronger commercial environment rather than having safety and the removal of vehicles from a street as the desired results. Union Street, which is one of the main pedestrian thoroughfares from the main city centre bus stops down to the V&A, the RRS Discovery Point visitor centre and the railway station, is hoping to create a destination area in the city in its own right. This collaborative approach is to be welcomed, but care needs to be taken to ensure that there is a synergy between the business premises and their new environment.

The work has been carried out by local designers and makers and, as a result, rather than importing some off-the-peg street furniture, the funding has been largely spent in the local area. Good design always works best when it is the result of local considerations; and with the painting design already planned to have a limited life it is to be hoped that additional funding will be available to keep the project up to standard and perhaps take it to a different level. It is obvious that what works during Dundee’s sunny warm months may need to be adjusted to cope with the colder wetter months.

The original concept of High Street shopping was that the collective drawing power of the street’s retailing offer provided a strong attraction for shoppers. This imaginative approach to turn Union Street into a destination street seems to me to be a worthwhile experiment and the businesses who have largely been in support of the experiment are to be congratulated.

Article by Brian Cram for Newsflash 46 (September 2020)

City Scene 2019

Dundee: City by Design

Dundee: City by Design (still in stock)


  • Water is Life – the history of Dundee’s water supply
  • The High Street – the beating heart of the City
  • Dundee Takes the Cake – a gasometer becomes a birthday cake for the 1991 Octocentenary
  • The Kingsway – the revolutionary bypass of the 1920s
  • Pioneers of Civil Aviation in Dundee
  • Dundee’s Drainage Infrastructure
  • Hacklemaking Power from the Ships – industrial problem-solving during the 1973-74 energy crisis
  • The Better Side of Bouch – the innovative Broughty/Tayport train ferries
  • Alexander Imlay and Son – the Fairmuir Cabinet Works
  • City Squares – photo feature
  • Dundee Civic Trust Awards 2019

Our Response to the Call for Ideas

Earlier this year, the Scottish Government held an open call for ideas, inviting views from organisations and individuals on what Scotland ought to look like in 2050 and the changes needed to get us there. All of the evidence collected will inform the position statement, to be published later in the autumn, and draft National Planning Framework (NPF4), which is scheduled for publication in autumn 2021.

The Trust’s response has been published online and may be viewed here:

Dundee Civic Trust Student Award

Two students from Dundee University have won a competition sponsored by Dundee Civic Trust. Run in association with the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, students submitted their fourth year projects for scrutiny by members of the Civic Trust board.

Dundee Civic Trust exists, among other aims, to encourage the best standards of design in architecture and town planning. It is therefore fitting that we should support and encourage young, talented students who are about to embark on their careers.  We are delighted to be associated with the University of Dundee in sponsoring the first of what will be an annual competition for students in Architecture and Urban Planning.

In this first year, the University selected a short list of four fourth year Architecture students who have submitted their year’s projects.  The judging panel was very impressed by the well argued, interesting and logical solutions that were proposed for urban problems, in Dundee and old Shanghai.

The winner is Calum Ramsay, with runner up Mishell Parodi.

The judging panel said, ‘Calum’s work was extremely professional, well-argued and very well presented. He added a personal voice as an outsider to his understanding of Shanghai. He made use of work from lectures to good effect and was able to incorporate his own findings into potential solutions for Shanghai’s problems of overcrowding.  Shanghai, like many cities, deals with old, unsanitary buildings by demolishing them and replacing them with high rise tower blocks at such high prices and rents such that the displaced community cannot afford to live there. Our local example in Dundee is similar, with the decanting of communities from the central areas. Calum’s solution for Shanghai was to create buildings of a more human scale with communal areas and green spaces where the displaced communities could return and function with their old familiar networks. It was a very interesting piece of work.’

Proposed new housing at Keiller’s site

Good news and bad news:  Barratt Homes are proposing to develop housing on the former Keiller’s site fronting Mains Loan and Clepington Road that has lain empty for over 20 years. It will be good to see housing on this ‘brownfield site’ close to existing services and amenities. Unfortunately, in our view, Barratt are trying to get too many homes on the site. There is no meaningful communal open space and some of the garden sizes are very small. Given there maybe 600 people living here this needs to be addressed. The Trust has also criticised the design of the flats fronting Clepington Road which we feel fails to fully reflect the tenement style to the west.