Ref: Hart L, Hooi J, Romice O. (2010), An Comann, 50 Small Scottish Towns, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow UK.

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Small towns are very much part of the urban landscape of Scotland.  They provide not only a historical legacy but are important drivers for the economy, activity and culture, and provide an important focal point for rural communities. Creating a successful town can have important roll-over effects for its hinterland and protect the countryside from unnecessary development.

Over the course of the twentieth century, many of Scotland’s small towns have been threatened by decline. Loss of industry and employment has taken the heart out of some of our small towns leaving a legacy of  derelict buildings and a commuting workforce. Subsequently the identity, purpose and pride of many small towns are under threat and the economic potential and benefits these towns can offer the rest of the country is not being realised. Conversely, some towns appear to be thriving.

“An Comann, 50 Small Scottish Towns” (*) investigates the morphological factors that influence these situations by providing a comprehensive graphical resource to show the evolution of small towns in Scotland over the past 150 years.

A variety of town types and sizes throughout Scotland has been reviewed to give a broad range of patterns and trends. Historical figure grounds have been studied to provide a visual record of development over time and to compare and contrast the growth of towns at 50 years intervals. These have then been compared with current socio-economic statistics to establish the effects that historical development has had on the present status of the selected case studies.

An Comann illustrates the factors that have influenced the development of Scottish Towns by providing a graphical resource of their evolution over the past 150 years. Showing common patterns amongst our towns it concludes with the promise of a further study on more detailed character assessment, which will be delivered in the successive “20 towns under the microscope”.

(*) “An Comann”, is the title of Joanna Hooi and Laura Hart Masters Dissertation at Urban design Studies Unit, Department of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde.