Creating Places: A policy statement on architecture and place for Scotland

This statement sets out the comprehensive value good design can deliver.


Title of policy/ practice/ strategy/ legislation etc Creating Places
Minister Fiona Hyslop
Lead official Ian Gilzean
Officials involved in the EQIA name team
Ian Gilzean
Sandy Robinson
Les Scott
Jim Mitchell
Kathleen Marshall
Architecture, Place,
Delivery and Engagement
Directorate: Division: team Local Government and Communities Planning and Architecture
Is this new or revision to an existing policy? A new policy which unites architecture with placemaking and seeks to embed this across government. This supersedes the 2007 Statement on Scotland's architecture policy: 'Building our Legacy'

Policy Aim

The new architecture and place policy aims to encourage the delivery of well-designed buildings and places. Good quality places deliver myriad benefits, including contributing to: sustainability; economy growth; building communities; shaping national and local identity; enhancing and respecting the landscape and natural environment; and supporting active, healthy lifestyles. To deliver these benefits, the policy sets out its commitments to support the Scottish design industry and ensure design and architecture is properly embedded in public sector processes.

The policy contributes to most of the National Outcomes but is focused particularly on:

  • We live in a Scotland that is the most attractive place for doing business in Europe;
  • We live in well-designed, sustainable places where we are able to access the amenities and services we need;
  • We have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others;
  • We value and enjoy our built and natural environment and protect it and enhance it for future generations;
  • We take pride in a strong, fair and inclusive national identity.

Who will it affect?

The policy will potentially affect the general public, through its interaction with the built environment.

The design of new and existing buildings and the spaces between them is likely to impact on different groups in different ways. However, impact is likely to be most significant on older people and their carers; children and their carers; pregnant women; disabled people; and to some extent, people of particular faiths.

Well-designed buildings and places should take account of the specific requirements of these groups.

What might prevent the desired outcomes being achieved?

The role of the policy is to encourage the delivery of well-designed buildings and places. By definition, "well-designed" includes taking account of the specific needs of all user groups.

However, the policy does not have any statutory or regulatory footing and therefore can only influence and promote. It cannot compel building or place commissioners and their designers to create buildings that take account of the requirements of all users. The aims of the policy content to promote well-designed places that account for all users can however, be considered as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications and appeals. It is for the decision maker in each instance to determine what is be a material consideration.

The planning and building standards systems and the associated legislation are the mechanisms for enforcing minimum standards of suitable provision for all users. However, these mechanisms do not provide for 'best practice' or 'recommended' levels of provision.

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