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Connecting the connections: Scotland's new era?

Connectivity / iStock-492777978

Connected infrastructure, housing, environment and economy supports strong placemaking. It looks like the Scottish planning review has taken note, says Christina Cox

What sparked your interest in planning? By reading maps, I started to get into places. Training as a planner, I learned this was developing ‘spatial awareness’. 

Tapping into a sense of spatial awareness through maps can make community engagement easier. Good place-making takes spatial awareness a step further by connecting the connections of what makes places where people want to live, work and play.
Good place-making comes from connecting the connections of environmental quality, adequate infrastructure and housing, and regional economic health. It has sometimes felt that the planning system has neglected to connect the connections in favour of delivering on unconnected single issues of the day.

“The 3Ps has been published almost simultaneously with the Stirling City Deal”

In January the Scottish Government published a consultation paper Places, People and Planning

Some omnipresent planning tensions are at the fore of this ‘3Ps’ review of the planning system – for example, expanding community-based planning decision-making and pulling strongly on economic development levers. There are some radical suggestions to address these issues; enlighteningly, the proposals taken together explicitly connect the connections.

Does publication of the 3Ps signal a new era for planning in Scotland? They may have a profound impact beyond the work of council planning services. 

Aligning spatial planning with community planning, plans prepared by local people; regional partnership working; coordinating infrastructure planning at a national and regional level, and a new infrastructure levy – these are a few of the measures bound to grab the attention of council CEOs, your colleagues and even friends beyond planning circles.

The 3Ps review follows city deals that have been agreed or are being agreed for many UK cities and city regions. 

In November, a city deal for Stirling and Clackmannanshire was revealed. Based on a masterplan that includes six ‘signature projects’, it aims to put Stirling on a footing with the world’s most sustainable cities. 

By connecting employability, infrastructure and the environment, the masterplan provides an integrated package: active travel; development of key heritage assets; modernised infrastructure; landscape, river and city linked through connected places and green networks.

The 3Ps has been published almost simultaneously with the Stirling City Deal. The 3Ps instantly resonate with the challenge ahead for delivering the city deal. Both start from a place where they will most likely be successful – by connecting the connections.

Christina Cox is planning and building standards manager for Stirling Council

Image | iStock


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