Scottish Housing Day 2020: Building Communities, Not Just Homes - Urban Union Ltd


Scotland should focus on building communities, not just homes

At Urban Union we specialise in not only delivering outstanding new homes, but regenerating communities. With four developments ongoing in Scotland – Laurieston Living and Pollokshaws Living in Glasgow, Pennywell Living in Edinburgh and Muirton Living in Perth, our ambitious projects aim to deliver homes where they are most needed. Established in 2011 with the aim of working in Glasgow, similar regeneration opportunities followed, and we now deliver housing in key regeneration areas across Scotland.

Community engagement is at the heart of our developments. We aim to build a long term relationship with the  community to ensure the homes we provide are to the wider benefit of the people living where we work. As well as focusing on well-connected sites, building communities enhances our offering by promoting healthy lifestyles and community interaction through attractive streets, public spaces and gardens.

An ongoing commitment to creating high quality, crafted architecture embedded and connected to the wider community is also fundamental to our approach. Too often you will find inconsistent architectural styles, especially in areas where multiple developers have built individual housing more reflective of their brand than existing buildings. This can be prohibitive to a sense of place.

At Urban Union we provide a mix of terraces, townhouses, and apartments in a coherent style, with a variety of house types suitable to first-time buyers and families alike. In addition to one and two-bedroom apartments, our developments include two, three, four and five-bedroom terraced homes and townhouses for growing families looking to put down roots. Our desire is for everyone to be able to enjoy a modern and stylish home at an affordable price.

We have a strong track record in delivering critical regeneration projects to support the demand for high quality, affordable homes and provide an opportunity for people to join the property ladder in key locations. New sustainable mixed tenure communities are facilitated through the provision of new housing, community facilities, green space and, where appropriate, commercial units. Our developments combine superior architecture, urban design and spacious, flexible accommodation.

To date, we have successfully delivered more than a 1,000 homes across our developments and are putting that award-winning experience to good use as we support ongoing regeneration.

Embedded in our developments is the ongoing involvement of the local community. For example supporting the Citizen’s Theatre, local school children helping to plant trees at the Pennywell Nature Garden, celebrating local heroes with our Living Legends arts project at Laurieston, running apprenticeship programmes, fostering links to local schools and colleges, to name but a few.

At our Laurieston Living development in Glasgow, we have partnered with local arts organisation WAVEparticle to create a five-year arts strategy for the area with the ambition of connecting it to the rich history of Laurieston, its people and the aspirations of the community. This idea was sparked from engagement with the local community which forms the cornerstone of our approach to development. As our projects have matured and new phases come to fruition, we have gone back to the community time and again to ensure they are fully on board with plans and help shape the regeneration.

Investing more in this coherent and sustainable approach to regeneration with local communities at the core, will not only help address Scotland’s housing shortfall and support its post-pandemic economic recovery but will have a profoundly positive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of its citizens at a time when the quality of our living spaces and the value of our communities has never been in sharper focus.