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

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


Scotland is, and always has been, a creative country. Our ability to innovate and to foster the talent of our people has secured our country's enviable international reputation. Scotland is world renowned for its rich built and natural heritage. Our responsibility is not simply to preserve this great asset, but also to create Scotland's future assets. Our vision is a Scotland where quality places support our communities, respect our environment, drive our economy and reflect our identity as a modern, forward-facing nation. It is the commitment of this Government, and the ambition of this policy statement, to create places where people prosper.

Place should not be considered merely a backdrop to our lives, but as an agent of change. Good buildings and places can enrich our lives as individuals and as a society in many different ways. Whether it is by supporting active, healthy lifestyles, or reducing our carbon footprint, or being the critical factor which attracts visitors and inward investment,
the value of place cannot be underestimated or ignored.

In a challenging economic climate, we should not question whether we can afford to deliver good design. Instead, we should ask, can we afford not to? Good design is not a costly, aesthetic layer to be added at the conclusion of an enterprise. Good design is a process that uses creativity and innovation to deliver the best outcomes. Good design can guarantee that we get it right first time, avoiding scenarios where we are left with problem buildings or places which fail our communities.

This goes to the very heart of the government's preventative spend agenda. Preventing problems by early intervention is the right approach to addressing many of the challenges which face Scotland today.

Fiona Hyslop
Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs

Derek Mackay
Derek Mackay MSP, Minister for Local Government and Planing

We want to see places in Scotland where people thrive for generations to come. If we are to do this, we must draw on our greatest asset - the potential of our people. Celebrating and developing our talent is imperative. In recent years, Scotland's architecture profession has continued to demonstrate its commitment to high quality and innovation. Even in difficult circumstances, the calibre of design we produce goes from strength to strength. Exceptional standards in architecture are consistently celebrated through the range of awards that we support, including the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland ( RIAS) Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award.

If we are to make best use of this talent, we must combine it with the valuable knowledge held within our communities. It is only by putting people at the heart of the process, and working together that we can create places that work.

This is why we have embedded place in the Government's fiscal decision making, with 'Infrastructure, Development and Place' one of the central themes of the Government Economic Strategy.

Substantial work has also been carried out to modernise Scotland's planning system, to simplify processes and ensure it supports good outcomes. Commitment from decision makers at every level is required if we are to deliver the quality of places that the people of Scotland deserve.

In delivering our ambition, we will create a legacy which will be there for all to see - rendered in our buildings, streets, squares and places. This will be a tangible expression of who we are as a country, and what we want to be. It is only by aligning our efforts and working together that we will create places that serve our communities, inspire future generations and define our contribution to the world.

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