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

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


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This new policy statement on architecture and place builds upon a solid foundation of work undertaken which has been directed at protecting and raising the standards of Scotland's physical environment and addressing related government objectives. Further information on the detail of this work can be found in Part 4 of this document.

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A. Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative

B. National Planning Framework 3, Main Issues Report

C. Affordable Housing Supply Programme

D. Designing Places

E. Scottish Planning Policy Draft 2013

F. Designing Streets

G. Community Empowerment and Renewal

H. Achieving a Sustainable Future - Regeneration Strategy

I. Delivering Better Places in Scotland

J. Agenda for Cities

K. Greener Homes Innovation Scheme

L. Traditional Skills Strategy

M. New Design in Historic Settings

N. Rural Design, Future Landscapes

O. Charrette Mainstreaming Programme

P. Green Infrastructure, Design and Placemaking

Q. Sustainable Housing Strategy

R. Town Centre Review

S. Greener Homes Prospectus

T. Polnoon

U. Scotland's Housing Expo

V. Inspirational Designs

W. Sustainability Labelling

X. Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning

Y. Venice Biennale

The Scottish Crime Campus

A complex brief resolved through a design-led approach, being delivered on cost and programme, while meeting highly detailed end user technical requirements.

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There is now greater awareness of the value of architecture and place in Scotland and ever more discussion around their merits. This debate, in itself, is important. Government supported cultural programmes on architecture aim to further encourage debate on the role of architecture in national and local life, to promote the value and benefits of good architecture and to improve understanding of building design. These programmes will continue to be principally delivered by Architecture and Design Scotland, with The Lighthouse used as a base of much of this activity.

The challenge is to translate this awareness into improved built outcomes. The ambition of this policy is to effectively embed design and place in a variety of policy areas and working practices. Although this is not something that can be achieved instantly, there is a clear need for it to happen swiftly.

Successful implementation of this policy statement will help to put a flourishing design and development sector at the heart of a low carbon economy; provide greater international recognition for the Scottish design industry; and encourage greater involvement of young people in the built environment and creative design sector.

A design and architecture sector that is thriving and well-embedded in public sector processes will help to address economic, environmental and social aims such as: the regeneration of high streets; reduced energy use and a reduction in fuel poverty; improved safety and security; and increased individual activity with consequential benefits to public health.

This policy statement aims to support the creation of walkable neighbourhoods where people and children are considered before cars and where the quality of the built environment makes a radical improvement to the quality of our lives.


For any vision to be realisable requires pragmatism and partnership. The Scottish Government makes clear in this document exactly what it wants to achieve. All those with involvement in delivering places will need to respond creatively and cooperatively if we are to deliver our ambition.

Involving communities

The involvement of communities in delivering good places should not be restricted to consultation of their views. For engagement to be meaningful, communities must be participant from first to last. This is because communities not only possess knowledge important to design processes, but they will most often play a leading role in the stewardship of their towns and neighbourhoods.

Working across disciplines and sectors

Delivering better places requires decision makers at every level to focus on the importance of built outcomes, not processes, and have a collective commitment to achieving a quality end result. This will mean working across organisational and professional boundaries. We should not be constrained by traditional ways of working, but should be sufficiently creative to enable the best possible outcomes to be achieved.

The Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities ( COSLA) have produced guidance for Community Planning Partnerships on the content of Single Outcome Agreements. These agreements acknowledge the role of the entire public sector in relation to achieving locally appropriate agreed outcomes. Central to this guidance is the importance of a clear understanding of place and the recognition that different places merit different approaches to be taken. Focusing on place is a way of driving the best use of resources, as well as securing greater participation by communities; better collaboration by service providers; and pragmatism in action planning.

The actions to achieve our policy objectives are set out in Part 3, reflecting the big issues raised during a three month public consultation.

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