The Exchange: Making meaningful connections through exchange


Cumbernauld, like many New Towns, lacks a ‘heart’. While locals can’t seem to agree on what’s missing – from adequate  nightlife, transport, to housing – they are united regarding the uncertainty of their future there. Cumbernauld is suffering an image problem; it is in desperate need of a community-led revival, not another overpromising plan.


We found out how people experience and perceive Cumbernauld – from local residents young and old, students from nearby, to business owners, and charities. Using probes and conducting co-design workshops at a community hub, we discovered that while Cumbernauld as a whole receives negative attention, a majority was centred around one neighbourhood – Carbrain. Our proposal aims to address immediate concerns and relief for Carbrain, while providing a reason to care for Cumbernauld in the long term.


Our proposal champions the exchange of ideas, aid, and gifts – strengthening community by providing a space where meaningful activities and learning can take place. Using Cumbernauld’s railway station’s strategic placement to signpost to third-sector and commercial organisations, The Exchange supports deprived communities today, and cares for future generations tomorrow.

The Exchange is a service design proposal with UK New Towns in mind, and Cumbernauld at its heart.