Menu

Students to help build a sustainable future for islanders on South Uist

Abigail Taylor

Architects from The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture are working with islanders from South Uist to map out a sustainable future for the island.  

This project aligns with the ambitions of the Island Growth deal announced in March 2021, which secured £100 million funding from the UK and Scottish Governments in March, to boost jobs, infrastructure, transport and tourism in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

Master’s students are working with the community, to explore the challenges of island life and to find, social, cultural and economic opportunities as part of a project founded on the themes of ‘Place, Craft and Community’.

Professor Karen Anderson, who is leading the project, said: “The Outer Hebrides has ambitions to develop community sustainability and we are working with islanders to help them achieve this.”

“One of the main findings of our study so far, has been the high level of self-sufficiency amongst islanders and their ability to endure a challenging landscape despite the increasing challenges of climate change, depopulation and access to services.”

“Our overall ambition is to produce high quality architectural designs that will add real value to island life. We want to embrace craft in the community’s development and build up resilience, creativity and culture. Key proposals that we are suggesting include a marine research and agricultural laboratory, new social housing models, community and tourism-orientated facilities, and an insect farm.”

In collaboration with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, NatureScot, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and community groups, the team is developing a series of research-informed design propositions that contribute to the future sustainability of the South Uist community in the context of significant and change.

Local Councillor Iain Archie MacNeil said: “It has been very interesting seeing this project develop over the last year. The students have come up with a wide range of proposals and have been very creative in their designs, whilst demonstrating a good awareness of the landscape and culture of South Uist.”

“I am particularly pleased to see that a number of students have focused on social housing projects, as housing is a key priority for the area. I look forward to seeing how these projects take shape in the coming year, and hope that in the future there might be opportunities for these innovative housing ideas to help shape the work of the Uist and Barra Housing Group.”

Work from the first phase of the project will be exhibited on the islands as well as in Aberdeen.