Place Standard Tool with a climate lens: cocreating local climate solutions

Tackling the climate emergency is one of the most serious issues facing our places. This project addresses the need to include climate change issues within a discussion about place, using the Place Standard Tool, and by doing so, maximising co-benefits to drive fair and just solutions that also support health, wellbeing and equality.

Recognised in the Programme for Government 2021-22, Scottish Government commits to creating communities that embed low-carbon lifestyles, while improving health and wellbeing. The Place Standard Tool with a climate lens will play an important part in supporting this.

Project aims

The project aims to better support new and existing users of the PST to consider climate change in their placemaking. The new Place Standard tool with the climate lens (PST CL) is intended to be used at any time when people want to discuss the future of a place, and for considering how global trends will play out in a local area.

This pilot phase is focused on developing and refining the climate lens version of the PST, trialling at a local scale. It aims to develop a robust evidence base for decision makers and policy makers of the effectiveness of the PST process in delivering net zero and climate ready places.


During 2021 new material including an evaluation framework and a guidance document has been developed by the project team. A working version of PST CL has been updated to allow consideration of climate change alongside health, wellbeing and other significant aspects shaped by places. We identified communities earlier in the year and have worked with facilitators to review the guidance materials.

The first pilots are taking place across Scotland, with several local communities and organisations, considering local responses to climate change. PST encourages these responses to be imagined and designed holistically to help achieve local priorities such as tackling inequalities, urban regeneration, improving health and wellbeing and economic opportunities. The first four pilots are:

  • Edinburgh’s Thriving Green Places– The project aims to shape an ambitious new vision for Edinburgh’s natural environment and produce a 30-year strategy and action plan to protect and enhance greenspaces with people at its heart. The project is led by City of Edinburgh Council and the pilot took place with the communities around Inch Park in the south of the city.
  • Climate Ready StrathdonBased in Aberdeenshire, this localities project, led by Aberdeenshire Council is running placemaking sessions in collaboration with the local school to feed into what climate ready means for their local area. The project aims to use the climate lens to provide a wider perspective of the challenges facing their community and support the development of solutions that are compatible with a net zero future.
  • Greater Pollok placemaking The project led by Glasgow City Council focuses on the regeneration of Greater Pollok, an area facing challenges of inequality and unemployment. Using place-based tools, the project aims to address these challenges and connect the local community to the landscape.
  • Buckhaven neighbourhood plan Using place-based techniques, Fife Council is working with residents of Buckhaven south to create a collaborative neighbourhood plan to develop the local community that captures all local voices and addresses the area’s inequalities.

Based on feedback from these pilots which were held in late 2021, the draft guidance material has been amended and is being further trialled in a second phase of pilot projects. These pilots are located at:

· Stewarton, East Ayrshire – this project sees Architecture and Design Scotland working alongside East Ayrshire Council, community planning partners and planning professionals from Ryden, Austin Smith Lord to prepare a Development Framework for Stewarton which includes a greater emphasis on living locally and how the town could embody the 20 minute neighbourhood concept.

· Climate Action Towns – The Climate Action Towns project led by Architecture and Design Scotland is working with community planning partners in 7 small towns across Scotland to tackle the impacts of climate change through mitigation, adaptation, and behaviour change. The PST CL was trialled at 2 climate action towns: Stevenston (North Ayrshire) and Blackburn (West Lothian) to initiate collective action in small towns with little previous experience of climate action and aims to foster long-lasting systemic change to deliver co-ordinated local climate action.

· Live Life MorvernMorvern Community Council, Morvern Community Trust and Morvern Community Development Company are working with Planning Aid Scotland (PAS) to cocreate a community place plan shaped by the aspirations and concerns of local residents..

· One CarlukeOne Carluke Area network (ONECAN) is working with South Lanarkshire Council and other community planning partners to develop community led place plans that include climate actions and reflect local priorities.

The feedback from piloting the PST with the climate lens will be used to improve the guidance and facilitation resources. A learning exchange event will provide an opportunity for all those involved in the pilot to share their insights – this will be held in April.

If you would like to find out more about the status of this pilot, this slide deck provides the latest update.

The guidance material is still a prototype and our intention is that once the wording is tested and refined it will go through a design phase to create visually appealing materials that make the tool more engaging and accessible, and tools to help facilitators get the most out of their PST session.

If you would like to see the draft climate lens version of the Place Standard please contact [email protected]

We would ask that you treat the materials as a working draft at this stage, and would appreciate it if you could provide details of where you will be using this, so that your insights can shape our learning. A survey monkey link is provided here so you can tell us more about how you have used the climate lens and give feedback.

If you would like to know more please reach out to Sam Whitmore at Public Health Scotland or Cat Payne at Sniffer