Creating Places - a policy statement on architecture and place for Scotland

Creating Places sets out the Scottish Government's aspirations for architecture and place making. Successful places can unlock opportunities, build vibrant communities and contribute to a flourishing economy. The document contains an action plan that sets out the work that will be taken forward to achieve positive change. Designing Places promotes principles of context, identity and character.

The six qualities of successful places are set out as:

  • distinctive
  • safe and pleasant
  • easy to move around
  • welcoming
  • adaptable
  • resource efficient.

These guiding principles continue to underpin the Scottish Government's approach to delivering good places. This guidance provides strong context and justification for the development and integration of green infrastructure into neighbourhoods and developments. Therefore, we have included a number of extracts below.

People and Communities

Quality places are often central to community life. A successful place is accessible to all and encourages people to connect with one another. The relationships which are fostered help to create communities where there is a high level of positive activity and interaction. These are communities which are safe, socially stable and resilient.

Sustainable Places

Quality places can, by their very nature, be sustainable. Sustainable places are often characterised by well-designed, walkable mixed-use neighbourhoods with integrated facilities. Places which have enduring appeal and functionality are more likely to be valued by people and therefore retained for generations to come.

Neighbourhoods which are compact and well-connected give residents additional options, allowing them to choose to use sustainable modes of transport to reach their destination. In this way, the development of, and enhancement of, walkable neighbourhoods has the potential to reduce the significant greenhouse gas emissions related to everyday journeys.

Good developments not only house people, but support a wide range of activity. Through the careful use of land, developments should be designed to accommodate a range of housing, local retail, leisure facilities, and high quality greenspaces which are attractive, rich in biodiversity and well connected.


Physical and social environments are critical elements in people's lives and can impact on their health and wellbeing. Neighbourhoods which can increase human connectedness through their design and where there is access to good quality greenspace, safe streets and places for children to play outdoors can positively benefit health.

We must take advantage of the health benefits related to physical activity and so it is vital that we create attractive, accessible places that put pedestrians first and make it safe and attractive for younger and older people to go outdoors. Creating places which are attractive and well-connected encourages people to walk and cycle and children to play.

Whereas the physical environment can have a positive impact on health and wellbeing, poor quality surroundings can have the opposite effect. People who feel that they have no control over their environment, or do not experience it as a meaningful place, are more likely to experience chronic stress. Chronic stress puts people at increased risk of mental and physical ill health and is linked to early mortality.

"There is a proven link between how we perceive our world and surroundings and the various biological responses that go on inside the body. How people feel about their physical surroundings, can impact on not just mental health and wellbeing, but also physical disease.” - Sir Harry Burns, Chief Medical Officer, The Scottish Government

Culture and Identity

Our natural and built environments help to define us as a country.

The quality of our assets contributes to Scotland's international image, as a confident, forward looking country. This is crucial in attracting people to visit and invest. It is the responsibility of us all to conserve these rich national assets, but we must also work together to create a positive legacy of which our generation can be proud.

Creative places

Culture-led regeneration can have a profound impact on the wellbeing of a community in terms of the physical look and feel of a place and can also attract visitors, which in turn can bolster the local economy and sense of pride or ownership.

Creative places are necessary if we want to attract and develop the creative talent of tomorrow. Taking a fresh perspective and encouraging new ways of working can enable Scotland to lead the way in developing a successful creative economy.

Successful cities tend to be vibrant and cultural cities, which have a distinct quality of place, amenities, retail and cultural offerings to attract and retain talent, investment and visitors

Landscape design

Landscape design is an integral component of placemaking. Well-designed landscapes can provide many benefits: safe, creative spaces for children to play and people to gather in; public space that promotes access to the outdoors; biodiversity and water management; the reduction of airborne particles; and improved micro-climate and space for local food production. These are all important issues that can be combined and delivered effectively through good landscape design.