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Policy, participation and practice to create better urban futures: Scotland’s approach

How do we connect the global to local? This session explores Scotland's work to establish a bold and ambitious national spatial vision that tackles the global climate and nature crises, and then goes on to consider the planning and design tools and approaches that are being put in place to deliver it on the ground.

Fionai Simpson



Thursday, June 30, 2022


Multifunction Hall Room 6
Planning, Architecture and Regeneration Division
United Kingdom
Integrated Governance in Spatial Planning for a More Just, Green, and Healthy Urban Future
NE 186


This session, co-ordinated by the Planning, Architecture and Regeneration Division of the Scottish Government, will explain how planning in Scotland is responding to urban and territorial challenges at national and community scales, in line with SDG11. The pandemic, together with the twin climate and nature crises, requires new approaches to the future of our cities and human settlements. Positive change will require a shared vision for sustainable development which is delivered through open and collaborative leadership. Scotland’s ongoing planning reforms aim to strengthen sustainable urban development in response to long-standing challenges including health and wealth inequalities, the legacy of post-industrial vacant and derelict land, and high levels of car use. The session will focus on how this will be achieved through policy, participation and practice. Firstly, the session will present Scotland’s emerging National Planning Framework - an example of strategic, long term policy which sets a bold and ambitious agenda for change, reflecting New Urban Agenda calls for national urban policies. Based on the SDGs and reflecting Scotland’s statutory purpose for planning to focus on “the development and use of land in the long-term public interest” NPF4 responds to the global climate and nature emergencies by creating a strong policy framework which supports more liveable places for people and a wellbeing economy, whilst playing to the strengths and assets of our cities and their wider regions. Key areas of policy change include a just transition to net zero by 2045, involving promotion of 20 minute neighbourhoods across our cities, urban greening and the delivery of habitat networks, active travel, new approaches to city, town and neighbourhood centres, vacant and derelict land remediation, and compact growth. Whilst clearly consistent with Scotland’s response to the pandemic and climate emergency, these aspirations require firm policy and political buy-in to ensure they directly influence day-to-day decisions on future development. Secondly, Scotland’s experience and innovation in community scale participation in placemaking will be explored. Drawing on the design-led engagement in Scotland’s cities and communities, the session will set out best practice in involving communities to shape the future of their neighbourhoods, and key lessons and principles. Thirdly, new approaches to collaborative working will be outlined, to explore how sustainability can be delivered in practice. Examples will include neighbourhoods in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, such as Wester Hailes where digital tools have been used to support community-led placemaking, and Granton where Scotland’s Place Principle has been used to achieve more coherent place-based solutions. The role of the Place Standard Tool as an internationally transferable method will be highlighted


• To share experience of urban change and innovation in strategic spatial planning policy. We will explore the evolution of national scale planning for sustainable urban development, and seek to learn from others about approaches in different contexts. This will help to build insights into policy options, impacts, and ideas for creating more liveable and inclusive places within strategic scale planning policies. • To highlight innovation in design-led community participation in place-making. The session will share practical examples of how strategic policy and systemic change can be put into action through collaboration. This will help to open up discussion on how empowered communities can lead change and innovation by being actively involved in shaping their future places. • To explore new agendas for, and approaches to, collaboration in urban planning and development delivery. Urban governance requires new, more place-based approaches to development delivery involving public and private sector partners. The session will highlight the challenges and opportunities for collaboration, and the importance of collectively focusing on achieving sustainable outcomes.

Session speakers

Mr. Cliff Hague
Professor Emeritus
Dr. Fiona Simpson
Chief Planner
Scottish Government
Mr Sandy Robinson
Principal Architect
Scottish Government
Ms Daisy Narayanan
Senior Manager - Placemaking and Mobility
City of Edinburgh Council