What if…?/ Scotland — Places


Sophie McWilliam

I wish… that Elgin had enough to offer that I could stay here when I leave school, rather than needing to move to a big city.

Lisa Mackenzie, Landscape Architecture

What if… we created better spaces to allow the vibrant events and activities that already happen in Elgin to come alive and engage the community?

The richness of activities that go on in Elgin are often unknown or located in places outside the core of the town. Re-imagining the open landscape around the River Lossie as a connective space would offer places where everyday life can gather around useable, community scaled pavilions. These new landscape spaces would connect the town centre towards the river and create flexible spaces where all manner of creative ventures and activities can take place with a better chance of touching the lives of more people in Elgin.

Christy Bolland, Citizen

I wish… that Elgin was the thriving market town it once was.

Claire Hope, Buro Happold Engineers

What if… we invigorated the beautiful High Street using the power of lighting?

We are suggesting that Elgin is rebranded and brought back to its market town roots as a thriving hub by reinvigorating the beautiful old High Street through lighting and a programme of events and festive activities. The transformative night-time identity would bring life and activity back into the town, draw communities together, meet the needs of the young population and entice tourists to stay longer. This would all help to build a stronger, more sustainable future for this beautiful corner of the world.

Jennifer Evans, Citizen

I wish… young people’s voices were listened to.

Niamh O’Reilly, 7N Architects

What if… Elgin had a place where young people could come together to socialise, to express themselves and to discuss and debate the issues that matter to them?

Grant Lodge is a Victorian mansion, once a symbol of Elgin’s wealth and prosperity, but now stands as one of many empty and underused buildings in Elgin. It has the potential to be reinvented and opened up to create a place for, and governed by, young people. This could be a convivial and safe place with a series of flexible spaces connected to the outdoors where they can run a variety of free activities, socialise and simply hang out.

Tim Wakefield, Citizen

I wish… Elgin was a healthier, fairer place to live.

Andrew Macpherson, Moxon Architects

What if… the streets of Elgin were free of cars to make it a healthier and safer place to live?

‘Green transport’ was the starting point in this conversation. Elgin is under-served by public transport and is bisected by the railway line. Banning cars from the town centre creates debate and raises the question; what’s the replacement and could it help us live better together? We could reinvigorate urban gap sites and vennels; promote sustainable mobility; increase access to community services and information – to aid wellbeing and to help people live better together.

Wendy Toner

I wish… that I could rediscover my sense of civic pride.

Rosemary + Ben Scrimgeour, Building Workshop

What If… we could restore the rich character of the High Street to make it an exciting and engaging place for future generations?

We are in a climate emergency. Today’s throwaway culture is visible in Elgin’s building stock; many central buildings are suffering from water ingress and decay due to lack of maintenance, whilst new developments are springing up on the outskirts of town. Before considering new buildings, all existing buildings and especially those that are architecturally special should be lovingly restored and filled with life and purpose. Our proposal creates a vibrant cross-section incorporating education, enterprise, food, and homes along the length of the High Street.

To see the What if…?/Elgin film, click here.