Alva Pathfinder: application of the Place Standard tool

Find out how the Place Standard tool was used as part of the Alva Pathfinder project.

A black and white aerial illustration of Alva town centre with mountains in the background.

As an accompanying piece to the case study for Alva Pathfinder and the toolkit, we have created this report to showcase how the Place Standard tool was applied to the project.  

Applicable for local authorities, councils and organisations, you can read about the benefits of using the tool from examples of what is achievable from this report. 

What this page covers: 

Alva pathfinder: application of the Place Standard tool

This report covers extensive information collected from the survey and sample site scale maps, only available by downloading the report. 

Illustration of an elderly person using a walking stick whilst walking down a sidewalk in Alva.

Alva Pathfinder: a place-based approach to a town centre regeneration project

The Alva Pathfinder project exhibits the best practice of the whole place collaborative approach, as a result of the involvement of a wide variety of people in Alva. 

In engaging with the community and Clackmannanshire Council we identified the changes needed to improve Alva’s town centre, by placing people at the heart of the decision-making process.  

Image credit: 3D Reid

Background information on Alva Pathfinder

The Alva community were involved in a previous Place Standard assessment in 2019, managed by the council, to inform the planned streetscape enhancement in the village centre. 

A renewed community survey was carried out using the Place Standard tool to inform the planned regeneration of Alva.  

Re-use of the tool was intended to support a place-based approach to regeneration that included the Glentana Mill site whilst extending throughout Alva, including a context that arose from the COVID pandemic.  

In doing so, it supported the integration of the proposals into the wider regeneration of community infrastructure in the town.  

Place Standard survey process

A simplified Place Standard survey was issued to pupils and staff of Alva Academy by Clackmannanshire Council in early 2020, prior to the pandemic, with 49 responses. This used a pilot version of the Children and Young People’s Tool.  

We prepared a separate a community survey and issued it as an on-line consultation during the summer of 2020, with 92 responses. This was circulated to a list of community consultees provided by Clackmannanshire Council together with promotion by the council through an open public portal. 

An analysis of the survey response

The Place Standard feedback provides a valuable assessment of the quality of Alva as a place, as perceived by local people. 

An illustration of the survey result is available as a summary chart in the report by using the ‘Place Standard Design Version’. It showcases the areas that needed the most improvement, positively perceived and neutrals.  

An analysis of written feedback

Extensive written responses were received in relation to each of the 14 Place Standard themes by both groups - representing local perceptions and priorities for change across spatial and social issues.  

Participants were asked to comment on the assets of Alva - 'what is good now', and the opportunities for improvement - 'how could we make it better in the future?' 

The report takes a deeper dive into identifying assets and opportunities for improvement for variety of areas that are unique to Alva. These included: 

  • Movement  
  • Space 
  • Resources 
  • Civic  
  • Stewardship 

What we did to help guide the workshop process

Following the Place Standard outputs, representatives from the council and community (including schools, health and community groups) and other wider stakeholders (including Scottish Government), were brought together for an online workshop in early May 2020.  

We facilitated the workshop alongside Clackmannanshire Council, who hosted the session. 

The objectives of the workshop were to:  

  • bring participants together and help a coordinated approach to the development of a brief for the Glentana Mill site and for related town centre improvements.  
  • review the potential for actions arising in response to Place Standard survey through mapping (mapping social and spatial together, connections and uses), identify gaps, opportunities and shared priorities for the town and Glentana site.  
  • promote a user-based, place-led design approach for the site and support the Council in developing a brief for the site.  
  • test the potential of the Glentana site and wider environs, how they can be developed to support different opportunities and models such as intergenerational housing and town centre living.  

We facilitated the workshop using a virtual whiteboard, maps, personas and the Place Standard Tool, to enable group discussion and recording of outputs.  

The output of the mapping workshop aims to help support the council in guiding further improvements to Alva and preparing a development brief for the Glentana Mill site and the surrounding area. 

An overall picture of Alva Pathfinder

We have additional resources available from the Pathfinder project. This includes a toolkit and the Alva Pathfinder case study. 

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

Case study: Alva Pathfinder

Explore a case study that shows how the regeneration of Alva reflects on a whole place collaborative approach to working together.  

Image credit: 3D Reid

Read case study
A black and white illustrative aerial view of Alva town centre.

Alva Pathfinder toolkit 

Read this toolkit to gain a better understanding of the recommendations and actions put together for the Alva Pathfinder project.  

Read the toolkit