Annual Review 2019: The Place of Place

Add to Scrapbook
Size: 6.48MB Format: pdf
Download: Annual Review 2019

Increasingly place is central to Scottish public policy. It features in everything from education and health to culture and international relations. In 2019, the Scottish Government adopted the Place Principle as a way of helping organisations work together to get the most out of the investment being made in our places. The Place Principle is about developing clear visions for places across Scotland and ensuring emerging policies consider what their implementation will mean for our places.

In our Annual Review of 2019 we look at how the work we do supports the Place Principle. In the review we highlight four areas of work, but our work is broad and varied – all aimed at creating a thriving places across Scotland.

Snapshot of 2019

Explore some of our highlights from 2019 by clicking on the slideshow below.

Participation and Place: Supporting the Learner Journey

In 2019 the Scottish Government published its Learning Estate Strategy, setting out the ambitions for the places we learn. The strategy looks at creating joined-up learning experiences for learners of all ages. This will look different in different places, but the intention to improve outcomes is consistent in all places.

Key to success is to put the user at the heart of decisions about investment and improvements – both for new and existing spaces. At A&DS our aim is to help co-design learning environments with learners, teachers and communities. Our purpose is to support communities and strengthen placemaking beyond the classroom.

One of the ways we continue to engage with learners is the Tests of Change process. We work with learners and teachers to analyse and test new settings in existing places. In 2019 we shared lessons from this work in an exhibition at The Lighthouse, Glasgow. The Learner Journey exhibition also showcased furniture designed by learners and manufactured by Glasgow-based Flux Laser Studio. Find out more about our work in the learning estate here. 

Tests of Change Space Hack

A Caring Place: Working across generations

In Scotland we are living longer than ever before, and with this comes the challenge to ensure we live well in our old age. Our work on town centre living collaborates with local communities and the public sector. We apply the Place Principle to propose approaches to create caring places.

In 2019 we led a national conversation on what caring places would look like and how they could be created. At the start of the year we published ‘Town Centre Living: A Caring Place’ report, which asked how we could use our town centres more effectively to
support an ageing population.

The report identified 10 Principles of a Caring Place, distilled from speaking with experts and practitioners from a range of organisations  in the public, private and third sectors.

We brought this thinking together at our Public Sector Client Forum event in June 2019. The Intergenerational Housing and Age Friendly Places event, held at the Crichton Campus in Dumfries, was addressed by Minister for Older People and Equalities, Christina McKelvie MSP. The work is now being tested in a number of pilot locations in Scotland, and we will continue to share our learning.

Housing to 2040: Exploring options and choices

Home is more than simply shelter. It is not just the place where we live, but has a huge influence on how we live. It can shape our health and wellbeing, as well as our work and prosperity. It also impacts on the quality of our environment and the strength of our communities. Housing touches every part of life in Scotland, from childhood to old age.

In 2019 Architecture and Design Scotland supported Scottish Government Ministers to consider how our homes and communities could look and feel in 2040. Throughout the summer we visited examples of urban, suburban and rural housing around Scotland, holding a series of workshops to explore what good looks like and how to get there. We used the Place Standard to give voice to both residents and practitioners involved in delivering these places, to draw lessons for planning new homes.

At the end of 2019 A&DS supported an exhibition which travelled to 12 places. Present Voices – Futures Lives was designed to hear from people and engage communities across Scotland.  The views collected through the workshops and the exhibition will help to inform the Scottish Government’s final vision and route map for housing over the next 20 years, which it is aiming to publish in summer 2020.

“The workshop was excellent and very informative. The atmosphere was good enough to be able to speak my mind and engage with the people I needed to engage with.”

Resident of Fraser Avenue and Housing to 2040 workshop participant


Planning for a Changing Climate

Designing for a Changing Climate: Place Planning for Decarbonisation

Climate change is one of the biggest issues facing Scotland and the world today. How we plan, design and develop places has a significant impact on our ability to respond to the climate emergency and our need to reduce carbon emissions.

The Scottish Government has identified the built environment as key to achieving the objectives of their Climate Change Plan. A&DS believes that if we design places to be more climate and carbon considerate, we can also make them healthier, greener and more inclusive. This helps improve the quality of lives of the people living there.

In 2019 we started to pilot a new area of work. Working with Scottish Government’s Energy and Climate Change Directorate, we are working with four local authorities to support the development of their approaches. We will then draw together the lessons learned and outline a transferrable and practical approach for decarbonising places and designing for a changing climate. Find out more about our work here.


Future plans

Throughout 2020 we will be developing our strategy for the next ten years. As part of this, we invite you to join a conversation on our priorities and vision. We hope that what we showcase in this review – and on our website and through our events – demonstrates how we can support you in creating places that respond to the climate emergency and support a prosperous and healthy nation. If you want to be kept up to date about our work please sign up to our mailing list here.

(Updated December 2019)

SERVICE: Town Centre Living Advice

A&DS is developing a design advice service on town centre living, initially looking at town centres as Caring Places for older people.

Learner Journey Case Study

Architecture and Design Scotland works with schools across the country. Our focus is to help explore and test ideas for new and existing spaces.

Scroll to top