Participation in planning in Glasgow South Central

Explore how Glasgow City Council has involved community groups in its plans to improve the city’s South Central district.

A cyclist is riding past the entrance to Queens Park train station in Glasgow. Someone is walking on the pavement in the opposite direction, and about seven bicycles are parked in a row.
Published: 27/06/2022

This case study shares how Glasgow City Council has planned change in the city’s South Central district using the Place Standard tool. It explores how professional and community groups have worked together to improve the area’s nine neighbourhoods for those who live and work there.

Across six short videos, we hear from those involved at each step along a journey that began in 2020. We explore their aims, experiences and outputs in an evolving stage-by-stage picture of a local planning process. And we share reflections and lessons learned from the experience to date. We will be updating this case study as the project evolves.

The entrance to Queens Park train station in Glasgow. About seven bicycles are parked in a row.

What you will learn

In these videos you can expect to find out:

  • how and when community groups were involved and their influence

  • how the planning process flexed to build on local knowledge and to more accurately identify local needs

  • the role of the Place Standard tool in the process and how this was followed up to help improve outcomes for community health and wellbeing

  • how participatory workshops helped with prioritisation and action planning

  • how scenario workshops helped plan for the impact of climate change

Someone pushing a pram and a dog running in Queens Park in Glasgow. It is a partly cloudy day.
The Glasgow South Central community very much welcomed Queens Park as an attractive parkland and open space. Image credit: Architecture and Design Scotland


The overview introduces Glasgow South Central’s nine neighbourhoods, the project approach, the journey, who was involved along the way, and the Place Standard tool.

Stage 1: getting started

Stage 1 focuses on the aims of the council team and the role of Architecture and Design Scotland. It explains why the Place Standard tool was used as part of the spatial planning process.


Key takeaway: stage 1

The council prioritised climate change and community empowerment from the outset. It underpinned this focus with a partnership approach and a clear policy framework to follow through with.

Stage 2: understanding the place

Stage 2 reflects on the council’s place and community research as part of its plan preparation. This includes the role of a Place Standard consultation.


Key takeaway: stage 2

The council documented the Place Standard consultation well. It also communicated this visually so community members can see their views captured in a meaningful and accessible way.

Stage 3: participation in design

Stage 3 reflects on how the Place Standard tool findings were developed and tested in a series of place-based workshops. These involved members of the community, council officers and national key agency officers.

The workshops brought a focus on priority themes including the climate emergency, 20-minute neighbourhoods and the impacts of city-wide transport infrastructure.

Key takeaway: stage 3

The council followed up the Place Standard consultation with a creative approach: it involved community members in future forecasting and identifying priorities.

Stage 4: taking action

Stage 4 reflects on how the research, Place Standard consultation and place-based workshops went on to inform the South Central Local Development Framework.

Key takeaway: stage 4

The findings revealed strong evidence for what the community wanted to prioritise. This gave officers confidence to approve changes on the ground, even before the policy was published.

Stage 5: lessons learned

Stage 5 focuses on shared learning and reflections from all stages of the process and those involved.

Key takeaway: stage 5

In two important findings, the reflections revealed that:

  • bringing everyone ‘into the room’ (virtually in this case) supported better informed and more locally relevant decision making
  • there is a challenge in balancing the long journey of policy development with an urgency for the community to see the changes happen

This highlights the importance of the further participation and engagements planned.

A street view of a green and white shop front with the following words: Remade in Govanhill; A repair and reuse social enterprise; repair, learn, buy, reuse; repair stop; tech drop. The shop is open.
A local repair and reuse shop on Victoria Road in Govanhill. Image credit: Architecture and Design Scotland


Glasgow City Council

Michael Ward, Zeba Aziz, Joseph Harvey and David Dunlop

Community organisations

Lucy Gillie (South Seeds), Bill Fraser (The Pollokshields Trust) and Kevin Kane (The Strathbungo Society)

Header image credit: Architecture and Design Scotland

More examples of the Place Standard in action

Further case study applications of the Place Standard tool and examples of whole-place collaborative working can be found on our website.

An illustrative aerial view of Alva town centre. People are cycling and walking around the town centre with buildings, trees and roads.

Alva Pathfinder Project: collaborate to regenerate

View case study
An illustration of the Place Standard wheel in the background. People enjoying a green open space in the foreground.

Place Standard for communities in action

View case study
An illustration of the Place Standard wheel in the background. A path with trees, benches and a small river running next to it. People are walking and cycling and there are buildings in the distance.

Place Standard for development planning at a strategic scale

View case study