Bonnie big project for wary Scots
Andres Duany hopes to help revive the art of village-building in Scotland. Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co. has been commissioned by Moray Estates Development Company to help plan a new Highland community containing about 5,000 houses, along with shops and other services, on 350 acres between Inverness and Nairn. Inverness is one of the fastest-growing cities in western Europe, its population having doubled in the past 30 years, to more than 60,000.
“There is a very fine tradition of village-building here, which has been lost,” Duany said in a lecture in Edinburgh in late June. “What is exciting for us is to bring that back, in a way representing to your own society the ways your ancestors used to do things.” The community will be called Tornagrain, the name of an existing village on the edge of the site.
Arthur Howard, managing director of Moray Estates, said Duany’s collaborative approach to planning “fits closely with the ethos of the Scottish Executive’s new planning bill” by involving local people at an early stage. Moray Estates, the land-owning arm of the Stuart family, wants to create a community of 10,000 residents on land that Alastair Robertson in the Sunday Times of London called “the most exciting building plot in Scotland.”
Duany’s 20-person team of architects and planners from the US and Scotland may face some resistance in September when it begins a week-long charrette — a planning mechanism not well known in that country. “Bringing in a high-powered chap like this may be a way to ride roughshod over everyone,” said a wary local councilor, Roddy Balfour. “We will have to double our efforts to make sure our voices are heard.”
But wait. It seems the high-powered chap from Miami has some ancestry with which to make common cause. An article in The Scotsman said Duany, who heretofore was routinely described as Cuban-American, “claims Scots ancestry through his mother, a Grieg.”
Bring on the bagpipes.