2020 Conference – Presentations

RHS Convener Dr Annie McKee opens the 2020 conference

In February 2020 we held our 20th annual conference under the theme ‘A Vision for Rural Scotland’. During the day we heard from community organisations, researchers, policy makers, rural businesses and campaigners about their vision for rural Scotland.

Missed the conference? Catch up with some of the presentations from the day using the links below. Additional presentations may be made available at a later date.

Community Led Housing

Arran Development Trust presentation – Barry Mochan from Arran Development Trust talked delegates through the process the community has gone through on the way to being offered funding for affordable housing on the island, and the challenges they continue to face in realising this ambition.

Hope Cohousing presentation – Jenny Rambridge from Hope Cohousing in Orkney detailed how a group of friends with experience of working together on community initiatives are developing their own cohousing project to meet their changing housing needs and provide support for future generations.

Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Company presentation – Angela Williams from FAGCC discussed how research showed a need for 25 affordable homes in the area, and talked delegates through how the community is using income from local renewable energy developments to build 12 new homes to help tackle this need.

John Kinsley Architects / Collective self build presentation – John Kinsley discusses his involvement with the Bath Street Collective Custom Build project in Edinburgh, setting out ideas which could be easily transferable to a rural setting. Set up by four local families in 2013, the innovative project that regenerated a derelict site and created four spacious, light-filled and highly energy-efficient homes.

Rural Vision

Not Doomed to Dwindle presentation – Lesley Riddoch asked what would happen if we stop managing decline in our rural areas and start tackling the structural obstacles that stop them become thriving communities. Talking through examples of ways investment in our rural communities can reap wider benefits, Riddoch compared approaches in Skye and Eigg.

Land for Housing

Scottish Land Commission presentation – David Stewart from the Scottish Land Commission discussed some of the early findings of the organisation’s investigation into land and housing supply in rural Scotland, including the fact that the private sector speculative model not viable for most areas of rural Scotland.

Scottish Land and Estates presentation – Sarah Jane Laing from Scottish Land and Estates highlighted the role some of the organisation’s members are playing in tackling the rural housing crisis and advocated for a collaborative approach to enable better placemaking across Rural Scotland, calling for more support for remote regions and a greater efficiency in the planning system to enable this.

Depopulation / Repopulation

Isle of Ulva presentation – Isle of Ulva Development Manager, Wendy Reid, talked delegates through progress on the community-led project to repopulate the island after it’s buy out in 2018, with an integrated approach towards housing, infrastructure, the economy and the environment.

Demographic trends and projections for rural Scotland presentation – Andrew Copus from University of Eastern Finland / James Hutton Institute used demographic data to look at the key issues facing rural populations and explored the areas needed to target depopulation.

Climate and Housing

Sam Foster presentation – Sam Foster of Heriot Watt University examines how housing is crucial in tackling climate change and looks at the practical steps needed, including using local labour and materials; building more densely; and choosing materials more wisely.

Ecology Building Society presentation – John Lee of Ecology Building Society discussed some of the sustainable housing solutions the building society is helping fund in Scotland, and the what is needed to encourage lenders to engage more with sustainable, community-led housing initiatives.