Transforming Places Together: digital strategy for planning

This strategy defines a long-term strategic direction for how Scotland’s planning system will digitally transform, embracing the opportunities new digital technologies and data present. It sets out what we intend to deliver, why this is needed and the benefits this transformation will bring.

Mission 4 - Use digital tools to drive collaboration and engagement

We will develop digital tools to support greater digital participation and inclusion in planning, using them to drive collaboration and engagement with people and their places.

Mission 4 - 5 Year Goals

2021 - 2025

Adopt digital engagement tools that will help democratise planning and get more people involved at national, regional, local authority and community levels.

Host a digital platform for development plans to seamlessly view and interrogate data from different geographical scales as you zoom in and out, from the National Planning Framework (NPF4) level right through to the community level Local Place Plans.

Launch the new PlaceBuilder tool we are developing through the CivTech® initiative to help communities get involved in shaping and re-imagining their communities. Continued development and improvement of this tool based on feedback.

Develop a digital places toolkit providing access to data and digital technology including mapping/visualisation tools at a local level; mobile resources that support remote and rural locations.

Work with partners to enable digital participation and inclusion to ensure no one is left behind in a digitally transformed planning system and ensure that people have the skills, confidence and information literacy required to make the most of being online.

Mission 4 - Priority Actions

2021 - 2022

Build upon the existing geospatial visualisation tools to support the development of the National Planning Framework (NPF4) and Regional Spatial Strategies, and enable data-driven policy making.

Implement a range of online interactive consultation and engagement tools to encourage greater public engagement in development planning with the National Planning Framework, Regional Spatial Strategies, Local Development Plans and Local Place Plans.

Launch the PlaceBuilder digital engagement tool, as a CivTech initiative accelerator project to help communities get involved in shaping and re-imagining their communities; continue development and improvement of this tool based on feedback.

Develop an online central register of Local Place Plans, as part of the end to end planning system.

Launch a digitally enabled platform for the National Planning Framework (NPF4) by September 2021.

“The digital pathway for planning is vital. There is no other alternative.”

Local authority Head of Service


Through our CivTech innovation accelerator, the Scottish Government is supporting the development of PlaceBuilder, a cloud-enabled digital engagement platform that enables community participation in shaping local places.

Placebuilder is a user-friendly, flexible digital tool that builds trust in stakeholder consultation through positive, early-stage citizen participation, broadens engagement demographics and generates deep insight into community preferences with data-driven actionable solutions.

The platform makes it easy to run inclusive and impactful engagement on planning matters. Uniquely it helps move from discussing issues and problems to identifying deliverable solutions, providing planning authorities the results in a data format that can be easily considered.

Placebuilder is a key aspect of our commitment to better engagement and increasing civic participation in planning. It is currently being trialled with a number of Scottish local authorities and community bodies and will roll out publicly in 2021.



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