How could Scottish high streets look in the future?

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SOLAR powered pavements, 3D shop signs and an interactive dancefloor are among the ideas put forward by designers as ways to improve Scottish town centres.

As part of Scotland’s Town Week, designers were asked to submit both real and imaginary planning ideas.

While some developments are already under way, others are theoretical designs which could improve town life.

One idea put forward by designers was for solar panelled pavements that would store energy during the day and then be used to power street lights at night.

They could also provide energy to power electric car charging points.

In another, the Montrose Playground Project said a disused swimming pool could be turned into a cinema and arts centre.

SPT’s Futuretown design suggested a community greenhouse in a Scottish town centre could “encourage healthy eating behaviour and provide food education”.

3D shop signs and creative shop windows were suggested for Haddington and a performance space at a pedestrian area in Motherwell

The public has been asked to vote on the final nine short-listed entries.

Designs were displayed at the Annual Scotland’s Towns Conference and at the Falkirk Business Hub.

STP Chief Officer Phil Prentice, said: “Scotland’s towns continue to define the character of much of the country. However whilst cities have been quick to replace shipbuilding and manufacturing with finance, business services, education, retail and tourism, our towns have found it more difficult to reinvent their role and function. Once the mining, manufacturing, steel, textiles or quarrying had gone, by the late 1980’s many of our towns were left trying to fundamentally rediscover their purpose and pride in a fast moving 21st century. Each town has its own tale to tell and any improvement will be from the ground up.

“The FutureTown Design Competition is a partnership between Architecture and design Scotland (ADS) and Scotland’s Towns Partnership aimed at stimulating conversations and provoking ideas and new approaches to highlight what a possible Future Town could look like.

“We all used to live in town centres, why can’t we live there again? How can town centres stimulate low carbon and sustainable living, encourage digital and enterprise, promoted tourism, culture, health and well being, deliver connectivity and economic growth, become places of opportunity and choice for all.”

Diarmaid Lawlor, Architecture and Design Scotland, said: “The challenge for towns is to regain a place in our imagination as places to support community. This is about pragmatic innovation, bold ambitions for places we already know linked to making things happen. Design can play a key role as a way to unlock the art of the possible.

!One possibility for town centres is a place to live. The recent Place Challenge event hosted by ADS with a range of partner organisations identified towns as places to offer new choices, bigger houses, more community and options on affordability linked to creative, collaborative and coordinated approaches to the buildings and spaces we already have.

The power of our collective imagination will change towns.

“We welcome initiatives like the design competition to invite community led ideas and ambition.”