We live our lives through places. They shape how we live, they give us memories, and they bear witness to the major events of our lives. Little wonder, then, that changing places can be so charged and controversial.

People live, work and play in the environments that we create. Everybody has feelings, knowledge and experience about where they live. Many people want to communicate these things when faced with change in their local community. Some are angry, some are reticent, some are shy. There are good reasons for planners, politicians and developers to listen carefully to those views. Listening not only informs better design and planning, it also helps to resolve conflict and build momentum for change.

Not everyone will get what they want, but neither should they be kept in the dark. Top-down command-and-control is no longer a viable way of creating enduring places of quality. That needs dialogue and collaboration between local communities, businesses, politicians, the public sector and everybody else who has a stake in a place’s future. Professionals should be on tap to help design future places and make them become reality.

Collaboration has immense power to achieve positive change. My job is to support that collaboration.

Recent projects:

Glasgow city centre Avenues: “The Underline”

real community planning in Lockerbie

it’s official: lack of trust is the biggest barrier to community engagement in planning

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