Designing Streets: A Policy Statement for Scotland

Designing Streets is the first policy statement in Scotland for street design and marks a change in the emphasis of guidance on street design towards place-making and away from a system focused upon the dominance of motor vehicles.


John Swinney photoScotland's best streets provide some of the most valuable social spaces that we possess. The process of street design offers an opportunity to deliver far more to our society than simply transport corridors. Well-designed streets can be a vital resource in social, economic and cultural terms; they can be the main component of our public realm and a core element of local and national identity. Well-designed streets can also be crucial components in Scotland's drive towards sustainable development and responding to climate change. Attractive and well-connected street networks encourage more people to walk and cycle to local destinations, improving their health while reducing motor traffic, energy use and pollution.

Historically, Scotland has produced a wealth of unique and distinctive streets, squares, mews and lanes, and I believe that there is a great deal that can be learned from our past successes in this regard. Designing Streets is now positioned at the heart of planning, transport and architecture policy. This document underpins Scottish Ministers' resolve to move away from a prescriptive, standards-based approach in order to return to one which better enables designers and local authorities to unlock the full potential of our streets to become vibrant, safe and attractive places.

I welcome Designing Streets as a new policy document which puts place and people before the movement of motor vehicles. The Scottish Government is committed to an agenda of sustainable development that focuses on the creation of quality places and Scottish Ministers believe that good street design is of critical importance in this effort. This policy statement represents a step change in established practices and, given the direct influence that streets can have on our lives and environment, I believe it to be an essential change.

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John Swinney MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth

Place before movement

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