Fraser Avenue, Inverkeithing. Working with the local community to transform an unloved Fife housing estate.
ARCHITECTURE: Affordable Housing
Kingdom Housing Association
Fraser Avenue, a mid-20th century housing estate in Fife, was no longer fit for purpose. Living in one of the most disadvantaged areas in Scotland, residents felt alienated and a lack of belonging. Fife Council engaged 7N to work with the local community to develop regeneration proposals. An extensive resident engagement process confirmed that negative feelings about the area were linked to poor layout and ambiguously designed spaces of the existing estate. The project has transformed the neighbourhood into a place designed to give everyone their own personal space, their own front doors and a re-discovered a sense of community spirit.7N’s proposals addressed this through a placemaking framework where every space has a clear purpose and defined sense of ownership, creating a new neighbourhood woven into the social and physical fabric of the area. In the 189 new homes, existing residents will enjoy lower density housing in a comfortable and secure environment, with private front and back gardens, tree-lined streets and accessible open spaces reflecting the nearby Rosyth Garden City and the wider Garden City Movement. Working in close collaboration with the community, a strategy was developed with local stakeholders to transform perceptions and rebuild a strong sense of place and community with the full phased demolition and complete redevelopment of the street.The use of alternative, non-standard breathable construction materials will also improve air quality and deliver significant carbon reductions. Mackintosh Environmental Architectural Research Unit (MEARU) are currently assessing the ongoing impact of this breathable construction and are positive about what the results will be. Ultimately, it is hoped that the result will deliver an authentic, sustainable new neighbourhood with a distinctive identity for the existing community to live their lives. Fraser Avenue was selected by A+DS for their ‘Housing to 2040’ exemplar engagement workshops and as an exemplar case-study for Community Involvement in the Scottish Government’s ‘Housing to 2040’ strategy: Aileen Campbell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government noted:“The discussions at Fraser Avenue provided lessons to take forward… It illustrated the importance of engagement with communities – listening to their voice and understanding the way they live.”“A collaborative effort has ensured a successful transformation of a place that had experienced challenges before, and it is great to see more social interactions and children playing safely in the community. That is a wonderful sign of a comfortable place for people to enjoy and live in.”