Re-Inhabiting the Centre


Thursday 29th September Venue –  Dalhousie LT3

Supported by the Academy of Urbanism and the Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR)

Conference overview

City centres, in particular medium size cities, (like Dundee) are an important part of Scottish history, economy and community but the changing pattern of commerce, housing needs, service provision, demand, expectation and competition is challenging the role of city centres as sustainable and liveable places. Rethinking (Re-Inhabiting) city centres as places to live, prosper and enjoy is one possible future – but how do we – working collaboratively - create  centres as living places that re-use existing buildings, facilities, assets, and spaces to deliver housing, businesses, opportunity and services in the right place for the right impact in a medium-sized city.

Buildings, existing housing and assets, streets and other urban spaces in our medium-size cities need to respond to the demands of modern life, including vehicle access and human walkability, sustainability, safety and wellbeing, local market business needs and shifts in arts and culture. There has been a progressive shift from utilitarian corridors to ‘positive’ streets where people want to be - where they feel comfortable, safe, and even delighted by their surroundings. Creative and thoughtful design and management of these existing buildings, facilities and housing and public spaces can stimulate a range of human activity that, in turn, can bring wider urban areas to life – buildings, streets and public spaces should be more equitable, inclusive and just and provide more sensory experiences for all - sight, sound, smell, and touch.

We are in particular looking for successful stories from a strategic economic and urban level, sustainable urban design and architecture perspectives (including small architecture ‘intervention’ which make valuable differences and impact). Points to be covered including but not limited to:

1-     How to deliver  sustainable city centre living as a key part of making the ‘city centres first’ principle a reality';

2-     Re-imagining existing assets, facilities, buildings and urban spaces to support sustainable city centre living;

3-     Balancing city centre mixed activities, aesthetics, liveability, health, safety, ecology, run-off management, green building and sustainability;

4-     City living centre as a hub of commerce, cultural activity and exchange;

5-     Enhancing street trading and the local economy spaces to promote sustainable city centre living; and

6-     Exemplar case-studies for Rethinking (Re-Inhabiting) city centres

'Re-Inhabiting the Centre' is a one-day event bringing together professionals from a broad range of disciplines. This conference will also be attended by 4th and 5th year architecture and Urban Planning students including MSc students. We will invite people from public, private and community sectors (including Dundee City Council) in the following areas: housing, economic development, regeneration, housebuilding, community planning, public services and agencies as well as planning, urban design and architecture.

This is a free event and there is no requirement to register.


Programme –

“Re-Inhabiting the Centre”

Session 1 – The Changing Role and Purpose of City Centre Living now?             

Chair: Kevin Murray (Kevin Murray Associates

11.00-11.10      Introduction – Graeme Hutton/Husam AlWaer

11.10-11.15        Opening Provocation – Kevin Murray

11.15-11.45        David Rudlin (Urbanism Environment and Design- URBED):   'But would you live there?

11.45-12.15        Ian Davison Porter (Business Improvement Districts Scotland): Strategic policy and  investment to support city centre living

12.15-12.45        Stephen Proctor (Proctor and Matthews Architects):   ‘City Centre living – What We Value’  

12.45-13.15        Discussion

13.15-14.00        Break

Session 2 – Re-imagining/ Re-thinking the Centre

Chair:  Charles Green (Honorary Research Fellow at Dundee University)

14.00-14.15        Opening Provocation: Charles Green

14.15-15.15        Steven Bee (Urban Counsel/ Academy of Urbanism): European Contemporary Approaches to Rethinking City Centre

15.15-15.45        Marc Cole (Aberdeen City Council): Re-Inhabiting the Centre: Aberdeen experience

15.45-16.15        Andrew Bateman (Page \ Park Architects):Re-thinking existing buildings and spaces to support sustainable city centre living

16.15-17.00        Discussion