Practical applications of place-making were in the spotlight as GWSF hosted a zoom version of its annual summer regeneration conference last week, with more than 70 participants.

Delegates heard from a range of plenary speakers whose organisations work alongside community controlled housing associations (CCHAs) to deliver their place-making activities. These included the Scottish Government, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Living Streets and Cycling Scotland.

The plenary sessions also featured the work of the Midsteeple Quarter project in Dumfries, as well as the perspective of two long-standing CCHA committee members from Castlemilk.

Café sessions showcasing the place-making work that CCHAs carry out in and with their communities proved to be as popular as ever with delegates.

Colleen Rowan, GWSF research and policy lead, commented: “We’d like to thank all of the contributors and delegates who helped to make our regeneration conference such a vibrant and interesting day. There’s always a real buzz about the summer conference ‘in real life’; and this translated to the online event.

“The last year or so has undoubtedly highlighted just how important home and place are for us all. For CCHAs physical, social and economic regeneration in their communities have always been closely intertwined.

“For over 40 years, CCHAs have put their local communities’ assets and input at the heart of their place-making processes, and as we emerge from the pandemic they will continue to do so.”

She added: “In our recent article welcoming Shona Robison as the new Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, we sounded a note of caution that place and place-making, which used to be under Aileen Campbell’s portfolio, now appears nowhere. In addition, we expressed concern that responsibility for policy on communities now lies within the Finance and Economy portfolio.

“As we heard over and over again at our conference, ‘place-making matters’, and we look forward to discussing this when we meet with the Cabinet Secretary shortly.

“The Scottish Government has placed communities at the heart of so many of its key policies over the years, including community empowerment and place-making, and through various funding streams. Forum members have welcomed this and fervently hope it will continue.”