We launched our corporate strategy and plan in 2021. These are our plans and ambitions for where we are heading towards. To help you imagine our goals we have collected examples of our work to show you how we make a difference in practice.
Forging a common purpose
We know that no project succeeds in isolation. Our work supports the collaborative development of strategies linking planning, services, and investment. This enables the right development in the right place to support the needs of the community.
We collaborated with partners in Alloa using a range of tools to help bring about a lasting transformation. We explored the wider changes needed so that older people could live well in the town centre and helped develop the design of new supported-living flats to improve the experience of those who will live there.
Image credit: Cycling Without Age
At home in any situation
Ensuring everyone has access to housing that is warm, safe and affordable is one of the key challenges we want to help tackle. In the summer of 2019, we worked with partners to promote Scottish Government’s plans for Housing to 2040. We explored and showcased lessons from a range of housing projects across Scotland and engaged the public through an exhibition and a series of workshops.
Our work with housing associations, local authorities and NatureScot has also shown that green solutions to rainwater drainage can save money and free up space for more homes. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how valuable greenspace is to mental health and wellbeing, and that we can afford it.
Image credit: 7N Architects
From Scotland to the world
Our work also promotes Scotland’s collaborative, people-centred approach on an international stage. The Place Standard tool, which helps bring different interests and groups together to discuss and develop their place, is now world renowned and has been used in 14 countries. The Happenstance, Scotland’s contribution to the 2018 Architecture Biennale in Venice, co-ordinated by us and led by WAVEparticle, started with work in communities around Scotland.
The installation, with a structure by Baxendale Studios, presented their hopes and creative thinking about place in a way that welcomed local people and provided an inclusive space for them to gather and explore. A space with a positive legacy long after we left.
Image credit: Graham Ross
Growing networks and connections
We connect people who deliver projects on the ground, enabling them to share their learning with each other. Through our Public Sector Client Forum and Local Authority Urban Design Forum (LAUDF), we have supported the exchange of good practice and examples of how to create great places in Scotland. 90% of those involved in these events say it changes how they approach their work.
Many young professionals who are part of these networks develop to positions of leadership. Through supporting our professionals, even at the earliest stages of their career, we grow the skills needed for the future.
Image credit: Allan Devlin on behalf of the Crichton Trust
Leading new thinking
Growing out of our work on design advice, we undertook a one-year pilot study with local authorities during 2019-20, testing a place-based approach to tackling the climate emergency. The work was funded by the Scottish Government’s Energy and Climate Change Directorate and contributes to the delivery of Scotland’s Climate Change Plan.
Working with communities in places as diverse as Shetland, Strathard, Elgin and Glasgow, we captured and shared the learning from this. Our eight principles of Carbon Conscious Places made national TV, raising public awareness of the importance of place and its central role in tackling the climate emergency. This has informed our work with seven Scottish towns in our Climate Actions Towns project launched in 2021.
With you all the way
Over the last decade, we have helped the NHS embed the voice of patients, staff and the wider community in briefs for new and altered facilities. Communities from Glasgow’s East End to the Outer Hebrides are now creating nurturing places of their own, and that other countries look towards for inspiration.
As we enter the next decade, the emphasis is on bringing all streams of public investment together to reimagine what diverse communities need to stay well. Learning, landscape, care, community, physical and digital connectivity – ensuring people’s needs are met within their local area.
Image credit: Hoskins Architecture
From small acorns
Adapting a public building such as a school – rather than replacing it – keeps it at the heart of the community, with local people able to walk there and use local businesses en route. This is healthier for people, the environment, and the economy. It also helps tackle climate change by reducing the need to travel and the demand for new raw materials.
Since 2017 we have helped schools, from the Borders to the Highlands, to adapt their existing spaces for new ways of learning. We ran ‘space hacks’ with teachers and pupils to test and build a shared vision of how the spaces could be adapted.
In some, the young people then became involved in making the changes happen in their school. Taking part in the process helped them grow in confidence and form a wider view of their future careers.
Image credit: Lenny Warren
Header image credit: Richard Carman
How can we help you?
Are you inspired by our vision for Scotland's places? Do you have a project where we can help? Maybe you have an example of how people have come together to make a difference to their area? Let us know how we can help.