How Scottish towns can work together to tackle the climate emergency

Two people placing sticky notes in a four quadrant matrix for a Climate Action Towns workshop.
Published: 27/03/2024

Climate Action Towns project launches report following three-year project

The Climate Action Towns project, led by Architecture and Design Scotland, has launched a report with learning and resources at an event to mark the end of the project.

The three-year project was announced in 2021 to support Scottish towns in tackling the impact of climate change and securing a just transition to net zero. It was funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by Architecture and Design Scotland, Scotland’s design agency for place.

Speaking about the project Heather Claridge, Architecture and Design Scotland’s Director of Design, said “We need to take urgent climate action across all scales. When the Climate Action Towns project was planned, we looked to work with Scottish towns to explore the unique challenges and opportunities each towns face. We worked closely with local people and organisations, and we have distilled our learning into five key ingredients for taking climate action so that other towns can take their own action.’

The five ingredients to community climate action

The five ingredients to take community climate action we have identified are:

  1. Start with what matters to your community: bring together different voices
  2. Understand the climate risks in your place: Use maps, workshops and data to identify climate risks
  3. Build capacity and collaboration: build community capacity to maintain momentum
  4. Develop ideas for action: invite the community to agree on the priorities to get greater buy-in
  5. Share plans and take the first step: Co-design a plan and put it into action.

 For each ingredient, we have developed a set of resources/tools to help you on your journey. These include design methods, mapping, and practical instructions on how to set priorities.

Empowering communities

Net Zero Secretary Màiri McAllan said: “With the impacts of the climate emergency on our villages, towns and cities becoming more and more evident, the need for people to collectively work together in the fight against climate change has never been greater.

“Over the last three years, the Climate Action Towns project has supported and empowered communities across Scotland to have a say on how their local areas should change as part of a fair and just transition to net zero. 

“The findings from the project and the toolkits produced will be used to help inform and galvanise future community-led climate action in Scotland.”

The benefits of taking community climate action

Jean Frew, a community councillor and member of Friends of Stevenston, reflected on the project “Once you get the knowledge it gives you confidence, it gives you power and it lets you see what can be done locally. It doesn’t really matter what tiny part you play in it, every tiny part will come together to help.”

Resources to take climate action  

Architecture and Design Scotland has put together a suite of resources to support other towns and communities to take climate action. These are available on this website.

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Take climate action today