Place Principle

At Architecture and Design Scotland, we are committed to the Place Principle. We believe in the power of design to make people’s lives better.

What is the Place Principle?

The Place Principle is where people, location and resources combine to create a sense of identity and purpose. It plays a crucial role in addressing the needs and realising the full potential of communities.

It asks that all those responsible for providing services and looking after assets in a place work and plan together, with local communities, to improve the lives of people, support inclusive and sustainable economic growth and create more successful places.

Video by David P Scott

The Place Principle was developed by our partners in the public and private sectors, the third sector and communities, to help us articulate a clear vision for Scotland’s places.

The Place Principle has been adopted by the Scottish Government and COSLA to help overcome organisational and sectoral boundaries, and improve the impact of combined energy, resources and investment.

Featured case studies

Explore our range of case studies where you can see how the Place Principle has been implemented and the impact it has had.

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

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An architectural sketch of people walking on a pathway and relaxing by a river beside a town centre.

Carbon conscious towns in Scotland

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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.

Participation in planning in Glasgow South Central

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Our commitment to the Place Principle

Improving our places is long-term commitment which requires stamina, passion and wide-ranging participation from all our partners. 

A more joined-up, collaborative and participative approach to services, land and buildings – across all sectors within a place – enables better outcomes for everyone. It increases opportunities for people and communities to shape their own lives.

We are committed to lead on the spatial aspects of the Place Principle – that is to say how people live, learn, work and play in relation to a place – to transform how Scotland’s places are planned, designed, delivered and sustained.

This means we will gather evidence and promote a common understanding of the benefits of a whole-place approach.

You can find more information on how we work together to ensure all of the above happens right here.

Explore our resources
A diagram illustrating the different stages of the Place Principle. From left to right, the arrow starts off in a chaotic diagram leading to a clear oneway direction and clarity.
Using the Place Principle to create a shared vision for collective impact.
Four people wearing winter clothing stand in a circle and talk to each other at an outdoor space.

Working with our partners

The Place Principle is based upon a shared understanding of what a place is for and what it wants to become, with partners and communities collaboratively agreeing the joint actions required to make that happen. We can help provide support and resources to allow us to work together to achieve better places.

Image credit: Miss Lydia Photography

Learn more

Header image credit: Miss Lydia Photography

Contact us

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