Placemaking is the process of creating good quality places. 


It concerns the environment in which we live; the people that inhabit these spaces; and the quality of life that comes from the interaction of people and their surroundings.  Placemaking is dependent on a collaborative approach involving the design and development of places over time with people and communities central to the process.

Successful placemaking creates places that people want to be in; whether to visit, to work, to live, to play or simply to enjoy!

Placemaking capitalises on what is good in a place, understands the local community’s needs and aspirations, recognises the potentials, then uses the principles of urban design to enhance the people’s experience in the spaces or places created. 

Good placemaking is a collaborative process.  It involves multi-disciplinary thinking and working during the processes of design and implementation.  It also involves public and private sectors partners, local enterprises and most importantly local people.

Community knows best what works and what is important in a place and they are central to any placemaking project.  Placemaking ultimately is about the people and is for the people.  Involving local community and local children and young people in the outset helps to develop a shared vision for the place to be created and to ensure a successful, sustainable outcome in the long run.

Good leadership also helps deliver successful placemaking.  Leadership can be public sector-led, by government or local authorities, housing associations or third sector organisations and agencies; or private sector-led, by landowners, developers, housebuilders and local businesses; or community-led, through grass root initiatives and local place plans etc.

Placemaking can take time and patience; good placemaking allows the place to develop and adapt over time to meet the needs and aspirations of the community the place serves.

Long term stewardship in ensuring good quality care and maintenance is essential for a place to sustain over time and to effectively serve the needs and enjoyment of the local community.  Placemaking that creates a sense of identity and enhances the sense of belonging of the local community can help to foster local stewardship in the place.

Watch the below video from, A&DS Chief Executive, Jim MacDonald, as he describes the role of collaborative placemaking and the Place Principle in supporting decarbonisation and helping to tackle the climate emergency.

Community Placemaking

Read more about how Greenspace Scotland have worked with a wide range of community, public, third and private, sector organisations to take forward Community Placemaking projects.

Read about Community Placemaking here.

Our Heritage

Scotland’s historic environment is all around us. Scotland’s cities, towns and villages each have their own distinct cultural identities and are crammed full of character, which we can enjoy and engage with easily and every day. The people, history, buildings, natural and built environment connect us to the places we live in, work in and visit and tell us how people have shaped our society and landscape over time. These stories connect us with our roots.

Place is increasingly at the heart of addressing the needs and realising the full potential of towns and communities across Scotland. Place is where people, location and resources combine to create a sense of identity and purpose.

Place-based approaches to development are therefore an important way of enabling local communities to influence, shape, and deliver long-term solutions – to environmental protection, wellbeing, economic development, and much more.

Historic Environment Scotland(HES) the lead public body set up to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment are upgrading the range of advice on their website for community and place related issues:

You can also learn more about exploring and caring for your local heritage, and what HES can do to help.


Useful links

Overview of Planning

Planning has an important role to play in placemaking. This link has an overview of the planning system in Scotland and links to key information.

Click here for an overview of Planning in Scotland

Architecture & Design Scotland (A&DS)

Architecture & Design Scotland is Scotland’s design champion.
A&DS's vision is for a Scotland whose places are healthy, sustainable and thriving, where everyone works together to shape their future.

Access the Architecture & Design Scotland website

Creating Places

Creating Places is Scotland's national policy statement on architecture and place.

Access the Creating Places policy statement here

National Planning Framework 4

The National Planning Framework (NPF) is a long-term plan for Scotland that sets out where development and infrastructure is needed. A Draft National Planning Framework 4 was laid in Parliament on 10 November and a consultation on the document is open until 31 March 2022.

Read more on the Draft NPF4 at the Transforming Planning website

NatureScot & Placemaking

NatureScot is Scotland’s nature agency. The NatureScot website contains information on how nature can help create better and more resilient places and includes a Placemaking Storymap.

Access the NatureScot placemaking information here

Find out more About Place

Head back to About Place