Building Better Visual Plans for Places

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Architecture and Design Scotland, The Scottish Government and the Strategic Development Planning Authorities have jointly commissioned a study to explore how place based strategic planning can be expressed visually in a manner that is easily understood by the range of plan users, including the wider public, and which can reduce the size and complexity of plans. MATRIX / Urban Graphics have been appointed as consultants to the project which runs to the end of June.

Scotland’s four Strategic Development Plans are at a stage where there is an opportunity to reflect on how good practice might be shared and identify where there is scope to improve their graphic content. The study will consider where a greater degree of consistency between plans may be desirable, and examine opportunities for new web-based technologies to communicate strategic planning in different ways in future. The aim is to develop a range of templates for graphic or visual communication, with an ability to incorporate place specific diagrams and other supporting information, which will be piloted by Aberdeen City and Shire in their plan which is due to publish later this year. While the project focuses on SDPs, the outputs will also be of relevance to Local Development Plans which have similar needs to effectively communicate their strategies.

This work is particularly relevant in light of the recent Ministerial statement regarding the next steps of planning reform which identified that plans should be about people and place rather than policy compendia; that there should be greater use of graphic communication in planning with plans being clear and accessible to all stakeholders; and which committed to an agenda that focuses on collaborative place making.

The study is being project managed by A+DS and will involve a series of innovative workshops that invite participation from a range of stakeholders to review the SDP’s and other European and international examples of strategic planning, and to develop a range of ideas to help inform future plan making. The final report will include a toolbox of techniques and will be available in July.


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