(Re)Placement: Procuring Permanence in the City
A mixed-use, community focused programme occupying a former department store on Princes Street, part of a wider strategy to build social sustainability from a network of disused buildings in Edinburgh
(Re)Placement: Procuring Permanence in the City aims to identify and utilise a perceived condition of ‘emptiness’ in the New Town to create a vibrant, diverse and socially sustainable community centred in the heart of the city of Edinburgh, in response to a lack of current community provision, a low resident population and a current skew towards consumer and tourist-based interests.
The project seizes upon pre-existing challenges that have been accelerated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the widespread closing of high street retail units and the abandonment of luxury Airbnbs, and seeks to turn these into opportunities for housing, leisure and work provision, with a focus on re-integrating and accommodating the needs of Edinburgh’s most vulnerable populations, such as those experiencing homelessness.
The focused design proposal for a combined market hall, homeless Support Hub and residential accommodation occupies the site of a former department store on Princes Street, and utilises its existing structural elements to reduce construction waste as far as possible. In this way the project aims to ‘procure permanence,’ not just for vulnerable individuals seeking long-term solutions to homelessness, but by thinking in terms of the full life-cycle of empty buildings, building long-term resilience in this speculative, post-pandemic New Town Neighbourhood.