The Importance of Place

People and place are very closely linked, often in complex ways. We all live somewhere; perhaps where we were born and raised, perhaps elsewhere. We may work in the same place that we live, or we may travel to work, shop, or for social activities. 

We are also increasingly aware that that there are many differences between the different places that we all have an attachment to. Employment patterns are different; facilities and services are different; life chances vary between places. The CSPP will continue to work on trying to help people better understand these differences and how we best address them.

Changing and improving the places we live, work and spend leisure time means effective and innovative planning toward both the built and physical environment, and the structure of local and regional economies.

Our activities related to ‘place’ mean we are engaged with other people and organisations to explore ideas and actions that relate to Scotland's rural areas, towns and cities. 

See below for sections on:

  • Scotland's Cities
  • Scotland's Towns


It is essential that we do all we can to create the conditions for policy stability in which key engines of our economy, our city regions, can best function.

Policy background

Building on work we undertook on Single Public Authorities, Scotland's 'disaggregated city regions' - our three main island areas - are pushing for greater power through their excellent “Our Islands – Our Futures” campaign. We wish them luck and will continue to support them in this important national endeavour.

The wider work on creating a more stable policy platform across our mainland City Regions has taken a huge step forward with an historic agreement of partnership between the political leaderships of all six local authorities within the Edinburgh City Region and now an agreed schedule of discussions about key items of economic infrastructure, prompted and supported by the CSPP.

Our Scotland’s City Regions programme has stopped off in Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth and Stirling. The program has brought together politicians from all parties and none, to identify key areas of common ground, upon which post 2017 policy stability can be constructed.

For more information on our City Regions stream, such as the opportunity to partner with CSPP and help each area develop its own thinking about how best to deliver economic stability and sustainable growth, please contact us here.

Essential Reading

Scottish Government Cities Strategy

UK Government Cities Strategy

Stirling Six Cities Dinner Report

Six Cities Policy Challenge Dinner Report


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Towns and town centres are the beating hearts of Scotland and Scottish life.

Scotland's towns and town centres are a defining feature and key characteristic of the country. They provide cultural, social and economic benefits, thereby improving quality of life, whilst also meeting a number of key government priorities, at the national, regional and local levels. In a carbon challenged future they enhance accessibility and can demonstrate considerable environmental leadership - but only when people and place are properly connected.

Towns represent key political battlegrounds, but also constitute a shared policy space in which all our main parties find some level of interest.

Policy background

Given that there is something for all political parties to purchase in our town centres it was hardly surprising that the creation of the Town Centre Regeneration Fund found unanimous support in the Scottish Parliament, or that its popularity resulted in the National Review of Town Centres.

The broad agreement of the importance of Scotland’s towns has also enabled the CSPP and others to create Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), a stronger collective voice making the continued case for these most important of local places to remain high on the political, and therefore policy agenda.

The Scotland’s Towns Policy Group works alongside the partnership developing policy ideas, such as the three key proposals made by the External Advisory Group, namely;

1. Town Centres First

2. The ‘Return of Resi’

3. Cultural, Economic and Social Mix

All three of these key recommendations in the National Review of Town Centres report arose from discussions at our policy group and are supported by a range of evidence and other work, such as our challenging paper on the Town Centre Regeneration Fund, “Once Is Not Enough”, presented to the Scottish Parliament in 2011.

This presentation preceded the creation of the Cross Party Group on Towns and Town Centres, driven by STP, which now acts as the Secretariat, bringing a wide range of expertise and experience into the heart of the political debate.

This policy programme will develop policy thinking, whilst also seeking to create a coherent voice for Scotland's towns and town centres through the work of the Scottish Towns Policy Group and the creation of the Scotland's Towns Partnership.

These initiatives provide a range of opportunities for those with a stake in our towns and town centres to engage directly with this policy debate and to participate actively in creating a successful future for Scotland's Towns.

Essential Reading:

Creating Confidence & Changing Futures in Scotland's Towns

How to Prepare a Strategy for your Town

Town Centre Regeneration: How Does it Work & What can be Achieved?

Town Centre Regeneration: TCRF Case Studies Report

Town Centre Action Plan

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