Press Release: Shaping the Future: Better Places for Everyone

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Scotland’s design agency Architecture and Design Scotland launches its 10-year strategy

(18 March 2021) Architecture and Design Scotland, Scotland’s design champion, has today launched its 10-year corporate strategy, calling for collaboration to ensure Scotland’s places are created for the benefit of people in Scotland, and ensuring that the voice of communities is central to how places are planned and delivered.

The strategy sets out the agency’s vision for the coming decade – a Scotland whose places are healthy, sustainable and thriving, where everyone works together to shape their future.

Well-established research shows that the design and maintenance of our places matters to people’s wellbeing:

  • Proximity to good greenspace is associated with improved mental health and wellbeing.
  • People living closer to greenspace are likely to be more physically active than those who do not.
  • Active travel offers physical activity and sustainable means of transport – good street design and lighting can encourage active travel, leading to health and environmental benefits.
  • Places designed to be walkable can increase the potential for social connections.

Significance of Place

Chair of Architecture and Design Scotland (A&DS), Ann Allen, said “The significance of place – our buildings, infrastructure and spaces, and the way we use them to live our lives – has been highlighted like never before by the Covid-19 pandemic and the on-going climate emergency.

The climate emergency is our greatest challenge and touches almost every aspect of our lives. We believe that places created or adapted to tackle climate change are also better places for people.

Our role will be to stimulate a step-change in how Scotland’s places are planned, designed, delivered and sustained. We will work with our partners to demonstrate what a joined-up approach looks like and the benefits it brings to people. We will use our experience and professional skills to inspire and support all those involved in creating, adapting and sustaining Scotland’s places.”

Ambitious Strategy

As a national organisation Architecture and Design Scotland aims to ensure that the benefits of the Place Principle become an everyday reality. The Place Principle is an approach agreed by Scottish Government and public sector bodies – to ensure a coordinated approach when designing or improving places – from services through to major infrastructure.

Speaking about the new corporate strategy Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Architecture & Design Scotland plays an important role in making sure our buildings and places support and enhance the lives of Scotland’s people. This ten-year strategy is ambitious in its scope and will help guide Scotland’s design and placemaking ambitions over the next decade, ensuring a resilient and sustainable future for everyone.”

Strategic Aims

Achieving the aims of the A&DS corporate strategy would see more people working together to make decisions on the future of their places. It would give an even stronger voice to the people who live in and use places, enabling their experiences to guide their design and delivery. It would mean having helped to create well-designed buildings, spaces and places that meet the needs of those who use them. Success would be to see this approach systemically embedded across Scotland and as a consequence, the creation of well-designed buildings and places being the norm.

Chief Executive of A&DS, Jim MacDonald, said “We believe in the power of collaboration and are putting this at the heart of our new strategy which is about bringing people together to design their buildings and places. Our role is to use our design expertise to translate their needs and ambitions into a shared vision to frame the delivery of new investment. In this way we can help create well designed places and make the best use of resources in doing so.”


The new Corporate Strategy, and accompanying Corporate Plan for 2021-24, are available to download from


For further information please contact:
Anja Ekelof, Communications Manager, by emailing

A&DS Corporate Plan 2021-24

This is our Corporate Plan for 2021-24, outlining how we aim to work to deliver our Corporate Strategy.

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