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Role of Architecture and Place

Architecture and place is led by Chief Architect, Ian Gilzean. His team focus policy on place-making, sustainable economic growth and development delivery.

The team advises Ministers on architecture and on design aspects of planning. They have responsibility for the development and implementation of policies on design in the built environment.

A key focus of the team is the promotion of the importance of design considerations in reaching planning decisions.

Helping to turn policy intentions into actions, architecture and place strive to

  • create successful, thriving and sustainable communities;
  • deliver better public buildings which contribute to improved service delivery and represent good value for money;
  • tackle the barriers to good quality development, through education, skills and advocacy.
National Outcomes

The overarching purpose of the Scottish Government is to focus Government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.

The Scottish Government's National Outcomes articulate this more fully and set out what Scottish Ministers aim to achieve in the next ten years.

Work carried out through architecture policy supports the following outcomes, which have a bearing on the built environment:-

  • We live in well-designed, sustainable places where we are able to access the amenities and services we need;
  • We value and enjoy our built and natural environment, protect it and enhance it for future generations;
  • We live in a Scotland that is the most attractive place for doing business in Europe; and
  • We take pride in a strong, fair and inclusive National Identity.

These outcomes are designed to ensure that we have the infrastructure,  physical services, economic ability, healthy environment, cultural references and the social networks that allow our generation and future generations to achieve their potential in a balanced manner.

Better place-making

Scottish Ministers believe that a concern for the quality of Scotland's architecture must go far beyond the design of individual buildings. Distinctive, high quality places as well as high quality buildings are vitally important to the social, environmental and economic success of our cities, towns and rural communities.

Good place-making can provide communities with an important cultural context; a sense of pride and belonging; and a sense of local and national identity. It can provide environments which function well; link well with surrounding settlements and provide attractive areas in which to socialise, to move around and to do business.

Good place-making can
  • influence the economy of an area by making it an appealing place to live, to work and to visit;
  • embed community facilities into our communities in ways which are accessible, provide a richness of opportunity for social interaction;
  • can promote active, healthy, inclusive lifestyles by providing attractive and accessible green spaces, through layouts which discourage car usage and which provide the right facilities within reasonable walking and cycling distance;
  • provide an environment and infrastructure which attracts business and in which business can flourish
Through good design
  • safe, welcoming places can be created to which people would wish to return frequently, and which would have a greater chance of longevity
Economic growth

The Scottish Government's Economic Strategy sets specific indicators towards Increasing the rate of sustainable economic growth, to create a more prosperous Scotland.

Its aims include increasing the rate of new house-building, reducing our ecological footprint, increasing the proportion of journeys to work made by public or active transport, increasing renewable energy production, reducing waste, and improving perceptions, attitudes and awareness of Scotland's reputation.

The promotion of economic growth, the promotion of environmental quality and a responsible approach to sustainable living are interdependent.

The Economic Strategy aims to deliver a planning and development regime which is co-ordinated, combines greater certainty and speed of decision making within a framework geared towards achieving good quality sustainable places and sustainable economic growth.

The present global economic climate is a central factor in our consideration of priorities for policy. A number of adverse factors, including the effect of rising oil prices on the cost of raw materials and the credit crunch, have had an effect on parts of the construction industry in Scotland, most notably in the housing market. We believe, however, that high quality Scottish design is one of the keys to maintaining confidence in the housing and construction industry.

Sustainable development

"Good design" in the built environment must, by definition, involve an approach which responds to issues of climate change and other sustainable development concerns.

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 is intended to embed a more sustainable way of thinking and create certainty to support investment in new technologies as we move towards a low-carbon economy. This Act creates a long-term framework and place Scotland at the forefront of global efforts to tackle climate change.