Edinburgh’s traffic problems, especially with increasing car ownership, are well documented. In an attempt to demonstrate the benefits of living in a car free environment, Dunedin Canmore Housing Association Ltd and its sister organisation Malcolm Homes Ltd have constructed a development of 120 homes for a variety of tenures. Furthermore, the homes are constructed using sustainable materials and construction methods wherever possible.
It is worth dispelling one or two myths here and now. The concept of either Dunedin Canmore or Malcolm having residents hand over their car keys before being issued with their flat keys presents a completely false impression. Also, the notion of people signing agreements not to own cars is simply wrong. It is widely accepted that people will choose to live in a development such as this, given the benefits of a car free environment. The density is similar to more conventional housing sites, so where there would be acres of tarmac and parked cars, there are instead gardens, reed beds, children’s play areas and allotments. The only legally enforceable document here is a Section 75 agreement, which precludes vehicles being kept on the site.
It would have been very simple for Dunedin Canmore to build this scheme with all 120 homes let from the Association’s waiting list (in our last tenant survey only 17% of our tenants had cars). As well as having the social benefits of balanced communities, however, the principle aim of Malcolm’s involvement was to demonstrate the financial viability of housing for sale that was both car free and incorporated sustainable construction methods.