An existing *undisclosed* piece of ground currently used for allotments is to be turned into a housing site (clue, it's not this one!)...
How could we get involved in a project like this? What remit would we have - we are a Community Interest Company - how can this be in the community's interest?
But we've been asked to design a replacement allotment, and we are. We did ask ourselves these questions, seriously contemplating what it would be to become involved in this project. And the thing that swung it was 'If not us, who?', coupled with the developer's very firm commitment to deliver high quality allotment facilities in parallel with the housing.
And believe us this: we've been briefed to uphold the community's interest, appointed to represent the landscape design, and been instructed to ensure these aspirations come through every stage of the design and consultation process.
So it's with mixed feelings of sentimentality for the existing plotholders, and the knowledge that we're providing a much sought-after greenspace resource that we're taking on the design of new allotment facilities. It's interesting to look back on the best practice guidelines as published in Scotland's Allotment Site Design Guide, co-written and compiled by HERE+NOW's design director, Liz Thomas, and to see how current trends in allotmenteering are shifting. More flexibility and variety is needed in allotments, one size does not fit all! As landscape architects, designing is at the heart of what we do, and design is a tool for problem solving, compromise, and balancing often conflicting needs and desires.
At the allotment site, we know we've got a job to marry the needs of many, and we plan to use our open-ended design approach to encourage as much involvement as possible with this design as an unfolding process.