Introducing a place-based approach to housing

A drawing of the Place Principle method with words 'shared ambitions..align efforts'
Published: 14/12/2020

Poor quality places aren’t just bad for the people living there. Over time they can lead to significant costs for the public sector, while failing to tackle the big issues like climate change and inequalities. We know there are many challenges for those who plan, design, and deliver our places, which include:

  • tackling climate change
  • achieving Net Zero Emissions by 2045
  • addressing inequalities in health and wellbeing
  • supporting inclusive economic growth
  • supporting the needs of an ageing population
  • accommodating digital transformation
  • public health

So, what can be done to reduce costs and get more and better designed places? 

Introducing place skills for housing

At Architecture and Design Scotland, we believe the answer lies in taking a place-based approach as set out in the Place Principle. This looks across buildings, infrastructure and services to get the best benefits for a place across its lifetime.

To succeed, everyone involved in a place needs to work together to agree on shared ambitions and align efforts so that investments work harder.

So, what does a place-based approach look like when we think about housing? Every place is unique, but it would commonly involve considering the following:

  • What makes a good neighbourhood?
  • Working together to find the best locations
  • Collective visions and briefs are embedded in local plans and housing strategies
  • Using planning, design and delivery phases to achieve quality outcomes

So, why take this approach? Many places are already working in this way. It’s paying off with homes and neighbourhoods that support people’s wellbeing and help to tackle the bigger issues.

The right skills

The right skills are important to making this work. We know there are many motivated professionals who want to lead the way with the right support. We can’t turn everyone into designers – but we can share some of our knowledge and design approaches to help.

The Place Skills for Housing series will offer three concise, easy-to-follow modules on Locating, Briefing and Influencing for Place Quality. Each module includes basic placemaking principles, practical steps and a suite of resources and case studies to help apply the learning.

The resources are intended to support local authority planning and housing officers to collaborate with others involved, in line with the Place Principle.

In practice, these steps should help you resolve complex challenges and establish the conditions for success in your place.


Explore Place skills for housing here

We’re pleased to share the first module on Locating for Place Quality. Further modules will follow looking at Briefing and Influencing for Place Quality. Our plan is to develop the content to better support online learning. 

Start learning today