How we help

We are here to help make places better. We are passionate about promoting design that meets everyone’s needs. We offer free resources and advice to anyone involved in shaping our places.

Four people wearing winter clothing stand in a circle and talk to each other at an outdoor space.
A diagram with a central circle and four circles around it. The circles illustrate the different ways A&DS can help.

How we help

Our belief in the power of design to improve people’s lives is reflected in how we approach our work. It is an approach that is collaborative and continuous, because places are constantly changing and evolving.

We want the Place Principle to be the normal way of doing things in Scotland. How we help make that happen is by promoting good design and collaboration, connecting people and organisations, providing advice and skills, and sharing insights from our work.

If you would like to explore how we can help, please get in touch with us.

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We share insight from our work to grow capacity across Scotland

When we work on a project, we share our insights with others. By providing examples and evidence we help implement the Place Principle and continuously make our places better.

 Teachers discussing a model floorplan of their school during a Tests of Change workshop.

Example: Collaborating to create learning spaces

In this case study, you can learn about our Tests of Change process. It supports gradual improvement in the learning estate, always with teachers and learners at the heart of the change.

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We connect people and organisations to create thriving places

The outcomes are always so much better for everyone involved when we all sit down and discuss our needs and concerns together. That is why we connect people and organisations to share their experiences. Our Local Authority Urban Design Forum or our events for design clients in the public sector are just two examples of this approach. In our work on the climate emergency, we are working with communities to take place-based action on climate.

A pencil illustration birds-eye view of a rural community along a river, showing green fields, and a cluster of buildings.

Example: Tackling climate change together

To protect Scotland from the impacts of climate change, we all need to work together to adapt the ways we live, work, play and move in our cities, towns and villages. We are working with local communities to support place-based climate action in a network of small Scottish towns.

Image credit: Richard Carman

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We provide advice on projects, bringing a wide range of skills

No matter where you are on your journey, we can bring a wealth of expertise and experience to help you at every stage, or just whenever you need us.

We provide expert advice on Scotland’s learning estate and our healthcare buildings, as well as how to work together to create thriving places. We take a leading role on place in the Key Agencies Group, ensuring that the Place Principle is becoming a reality.

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

Example: Taking a whole-place collaborative approach

We have recently worked on several projects that have contributed to the whole-place collaborative approach to the regeneration of Alva. These include the planning of carbon conscious places, meeting the needs of an ageing population through a caring place and addressing the regeneration of Alva’s town centre.

Image credit: 3DReid

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We champion good design and collaboration

Understanding why good design is important and the difference it can make to people and communities is one of the core messages we share. We champion examples of people working together to design our places.

A boy in a dimly lit exhibition space looking up at postcards hanging from the ceiling. The postcards contain wishes of citizens for the future of their place.

Example: Connecting citizens and designers

An exhibition at V&A Dundee in 2021 showed just what can happen when designers and residents come together to plan a better future for the places they call home. What if...?/Scotland, created by 7N Architects and promoted by the Scotland + Venice partnership, demonstrated the power of design.

Image credit: Alan Richardson

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Helpful tools and resources

We have plenty of useful and inspiring documents and videos to help you get started or keep going.

Explore our resources

Header image credit: Miss Lydia Photography

Get in touch

If you have a question or would like to find out more about the work we do and how we can help you, please get in touch.

Contact us