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Residential / Healthy Cities

New design framework to underpin post-COVID desire for healthy living

By Andrew Sansom 22 Jun 2020 0

Urban regeneration homebuilder Artisan Real Estate has launched a new blueprint for sustainable development as a response to what it anticipates will be at the forefront of local communities’ expectations for a post-COVID world.

Initially focusing on new homes’ projects in Edinburgh, the plan is geared to achieving low- to zero-carbon development, as well as creating a more open and landscaped environment to benefit general health and wellbeing. Smart, energy-efficient building design is said to be matched with an innovative approach to placemaking and community, introducing such creative concepts as green roofs, ‘edible’ gardens, and green transport plans for city centres. 

It’s reported to be closely aligned with the City of Edinburgh Council’s ‘Future Edinburgh’ strategy, which aims to make the city carbon neutral within the next ten years. Artisan is now applying its design philosophy to two major developments in the city – Canonmills Garden to the north of the city centre, and the recently acquired Rowanbank Gardens in the Corstorphine area and currently subject to a planning application.

“The challenges highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated the importance of changing the way we deliver new home development,” explains Clive Wilding, Artisan’s group development director. “We’re now very much going above and beyond the existing Council guidelines as outlined in its ‘Future Edinburgh’ strategy. As well as reducing urban sprawl by optimising the number of people living in well-designed, sustainable homes, in low car-use locations well served by public and ‘self-propelled’ transport, we’re also envisaging what people want from their living environment, post COVID-19.

“Significant emphasis is placed on the quality of internal space and light to create enjoyable home-working environments, while accessible gardens and landscaping promote health and wellbeing by making nature and well-designed outdoor space integral to the day-to-day living experience.”

Artisan’s Canonmills Garden development, scheduled for completion in early 2021, features the use of low- and zero-carbon generating technology. This includes a combined heat and power system helping to support building energy loads while charging electric vehicles, reducing both building- and transport-related carbon emissions. This strategy, combined with green roof spaces and climate-responsive building facades, helps improve and enhance environmental integration, natural light provision, and the quality of indoor and outdoor air, according to Artisan.

Similar development principles have been applied to the major planning application for 126 new homes at Artisan’s Rowanbank Gardens. The former care home site in Corstorphine fits well with the Council’s requirement for well-designed, high-density living while providing spacious communal areas and established public transport links ensuring low car ownership. The housebuilder says the development is designed around a central courtyard garden providing nearly twice the level of open space recommended by council planning policy, and filled with fruit trees and communal planting and growing beds. Apartments are designed for open-plan living with large windows offering views of the courtyard and the wider area, while green roofs are said to ensure benefits of surface water retention, insulation and ecology.

Artisan has a reputation in Scotland for large-scale city regeneration projects, such as the New Waverley, which has transformed Edinburgh’s historic Old Town. The developer says it is now applying the same values and philosophy that guided the design and execution of New Waverley to its residential developments.

“Remaining true to our urban regeneration credentials, at the heart of all Artisan’s developments is building a strong sense of place,” explains Wilding. “We’re specialising in niche urban developments in the most exciting parts of the city centre, creating a high-value premium product for a wide range of homebuyers, including young professionals, families and down-sizers. 

“Artisan now has an opportunity in Scotland to set a new benchmark for high-quality urban regeneration in sensitive city-centre environments – whether it be commercial, residential or mixed use.”

Organisations involved