Chapelton inspires Japanese firm

The visitors with the Duke of Fife
The visitors with the Duke of Fife

Staff from a Japanese house-building firm visited Scotland’s largest planned new town to learn about sustainable communities.

More than 20 managers and directors from the Machinami Foundation (the Street Scene Foundation) were accompanied on a tour of Chapelton, which is located south of Aberdeen City, by the Duke of Fife who is leading the development of the project.

The visit was part of a tour of Europe examining sustainable communities throughout the continent.

Findings from the visit will help the Foundation to encourage a shift from the focus on housing from quantity to quality.

The intention is to bring a ‘positive change for local Japanese residents and their lifestyle’.

Speaking about the visit, the Duke of Fife, director of Elsick Development Company, said: “It was a great pleasure to host the Machinami Foundation on site at Chapelton.

“The group was particularly interested in learning more about our commitment to providing a sustainable community in the North East of Scotland, which boasts a range of house type design and facilities, which allow our residents to live, work and enjoy their leisure time right here at Chapelton.

“Since work started a few years ago, Chapleton has attracted much attention from developers, local businesses and academics. As we now see the community mature, it’s great to see interest from associations further afield.”

The Machinami Foundation was formed in 1979 and aims to improve the quality of housing in Japan by studying residential lifestyles and environments.

Yuichi Matsushima, executive director of the Foundation, said: “We have all found it extremely beneficial to visit Chapelton.

“Elsick Development Company’s focus on new urbanism and offering local residents a positive lifestyle can be easily seen in the already well-established community.

“In addition to the wide variety of property types, Chapelton residents are enjoying local facilities, infrastructure, green space and commercial outlets.

“The study of each of these aspects will very much help us in driving change in Japan in order to bring about a new way of thinking when planning and developing towns.”

Chapelton already has around 70 residents in its first neighbourhood, Cairnhill, and the second phase - the construction of 100 homes - is already underway.