Creating Well Designed Places in Scotland

Issued: Mon, 03 Dec 2018 13:47:00 GMT

Research indicates that attractive places which are easily navigated by pedestrians, and where buildings and public spaces sit together harmoniously, support economic development, foster social interaction and improve people’s health and wellbeing.

The Scottish Government has made the delivery of well-designed places a key priority in its national planning statement, yet many buildings and public spaces in Scotland are poorly designed and new development often lacks a sense of place.

Working in partnership with West Dunbartonshire Council, researchers from the School of Social and Political Sciences are investigating what it takes to deliver well-designed places in Scotland.

Working closely with the Council’s Planning and Building Standards team, the research will pinpoint the barriers to good design and assess the effectiveness of the local planning system to improve the quality of development. In so doing, the research will also reflect more broadly on the extent to which local authorities are equipped to meet the Scottish Government’s ambition to create well-designed places across the country.

Under supervision from Dr James White from the School of Social and Political Sciences, student Rob Richardson is shadowing the council’s Place and Design officer to gain insight into the day to day workings of the council’s urban design agenda.

Rob said: “Through my work with West Dunbartonshire Council, I’m enjoying getting to know first-hand the major development projects being undertaken within the area. I recently attended my first Place and Design Panel meeting - a key part of the Council's strategic investment in design governance - and have also been building my understanding of the unique development and regeneration context within West Dunbartonshire. I look forward to continuing my relationship with West Dunbartonshire, and to seeing the outcomes of the Council's urban design focus during the course of my research.”

Ashley Mullen, Place and Design Officer at West Dunbartonshire Council, added: “We’re delighted to be working with the University of Glasgow to identify the barriers to good design and assess the effectiveness of the local planning system to enhance development quality.”