Craigmillar Town Centre



ARCHITECTURE: Affordable Housing


Anderson Bell Christie


City of Edinburgh Council


The population of Craigmillar fell with the decline of the economy during the 1960s and 1970s, social problems began to grow and the area became stigmatised. In response the Craigmillar Urban Design Framework was established. The 194 homes now completed have solidified the intention of this framework and the rejuvenated heart of this community. The project has been designed to maximise the number of active frontages within the site layout; This helps to facilitate passive surveillance over the majority of public spaces within the development and provide activity along street edges. The streets have been conceived and detailed to provide a high quality and robust public realm which reflects the level of quality found in the architecture. The design of the streets helps to slow the movement of vehicles through the site and create a sense of pedestrian priority. The development includes important greenspace which reinforces the connection between the primary schools, new homes, the proposed secondary school and Business Centre. The first linear park runs from east to west across the site and provides a major landscaped street frontage as well as robust planting and high-quality informal play areas.Connected directly to the park and extending out north, is another major open amenity space. Seating and informal play elements have been incorporated, as well as more informal play and community growing spaces to create a series of individual but connected spaces.As well as attaining Silver ‘Section 7 – Sustainability’ Compliance under Scottish Building standards, the project has been used as a testbed to determine how Gold standard can be achieved and how this provides benefit to tenants of the new homes. In partnership with The Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit, the team ensured that one of the main blocks was enhanced and designed to meet this challenging standard. William and Adele Halliday plus their children have moved into a three-bedroom home. William said:“We have a 10 year old, a one year old and another on the way so the move is perfect timing for us as a family. We had been living nearby in a flat on the 10th floor of a high rise - now we have our own home and the kids have a garden to play in. It's very spacious and modern. We're delighted with it and enjoying settling in. Getting to my work is easy too with the public transport connections here in Craigmillar.”