Why creating communities is as important as building homes

By Kirsty Robertson, sales and marketing manager, Urban Union

Scotland’s construction industry is heating up again with house building at the core of the recent upturn.

The idea of regeneration rather than isolated development is the approach at the heart of Urban Union’s operations. We believe that when building in any area of existing communities, there is a duty to adapt and help improve what will surround the new buildings.

In all three of our locations, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth, we are working hand in hand with the local councils to build programmes that invest in the areas’ infrastructure to the advantage of the local residents.

This investment takes a different form in each area but is typically focussed on issues identified by the local community such as the need for improved recreational space and facilities.

This includes the development of bespoke arts strategies to help engage communities in activities that enhance the area and help create an inclusive living culture. This approach has proved successful at Pennywell with our development winning the Regeneration prize at the 2016 Inside Housing Top 60 Awards.

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Not only should regeneration be considered a top priority for construction projects in Scotland, but so should the balance of private and affordable housing. According to the latest figures from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), Scotland is leading the way in the UK in building affordable and social rented housing.

At Pennywell Living in Edinburgh there’s been a major investment of £42 million by the City of Edinburgh Council. This money is going towards helping build 700 homes, 50 per cent of which are affordable, social housing and mid-market rent with the remainder comprising private housing.

Striking this balance achieves Urban Union’s aim of supplying over and above the number of affordable homes set by government requirements while delivering modern, comfortable apartments, houses and townhouses for residents.