Place Standard

About the Tool

The Place Standard tool provides a simple framework to structure conversations about place. It allows you to think about the physical elements of a place (e.g. its buildings, spaces, and transport links) as well as the social aspects (e.g. whether people feel they have a say in decision making).

The tool provides prompts for discussions, allowing you to consider all the elements of place in a methodical way. The tool pinpoints the assets of a place as well as areas where a place could improve.

Guide

A more detailed guide can be found here

The Place Standard is a tool to evaluate the quality of a place. It can evaluate places that are well-established, undergoing change, or still being planned. The tool can also help users to identify their priorities.

The tool is simple and free to use. It consists of 14 questions which cover both the physical and social elements of a place. Prompts are provide to help users answer the questions. When all 14 questions have been completed, the results are shown in a simple diagram.

Why place is important

Research shows that the places where we spend our time have an important impact on our lives. The way a place looks, functions and feels can influence our health and wellbeing, and the opportunities we have access to. Improving the quality of places can help to tackle inequalities.

Understanding the existing and potential strengths of a place can inform good decision making, allowing resources to be targeted to where they are most needed. This approach can deliver better results over the long term.

The tool can also support the design and delivery of successful places, creating quality development where people want to live.

Who it is for

The tool is designed to be accessible for everyone to use: communities; public sector; third sector; and the private sector. People will want to use the tool in different circumstance and for different purposes, but it allows people to work together productively across sectors and boundaries in a consistent way.

Area

The tool allows different sizes and types of places to be assessed. This can include whole towns or neighbourhoods in urban or rural locations. The tool can be used to assess existing places as well as places that are still being planned. Whatever the place, the area to be evaluated should be agreed in advance by those involved.

How to use

You can either complete the tool on paper or online.

  • Record who you are, noting if you are an individual or representing a group, and agree the area you are going to assess.
  • Answer each question by recording a rating on a scale from 1 to 7. Some prompts are provided as a starting point for discussion. The rating should be agreed amongst the group carrying out the assessment. Space is provided to record the reasons for your answers.
  • When you have answered all the questions, plot each rating on the ‘compass diagram’. In this example (below) the “moving around” question was rated as ‘4’. The next question, “public transport”, was rated a “6”. A line should be drawn between each point.
    Incomplete example
  • After completing the diagram, you can reflect on the results by agreeing priorities and actions. Space is provided for you to list the main issues.

There may be occasions where the question does not seem relevant or where you feel you do not have enough information to answer. In these cases you should think about the area that is being evaluated as part of a larger place or ensure that there is a way in which community views can properly be taken into account.

When the tool is being used to help plan a new development where there is no established community, you will want to think about what it will be like to live there. It will also be useful to consider the needs of, or impact on neighbouring communities.

Output

The diagram that is produced is easy to understand. It shows at a glance the areas where a place is performing well and where there is room for improvement. Where a place has been assessed as good, the shape will be fuller, reaching towards the edge of the circle (in the example below: public transport). Where it is viewed as performing poorly the shape will be smaller, remaining towards the centre (eg: streets and spaces)

Complete example

There is no benchmark or minimum standard. The tool is used to determine the strengths and assets of a place and to indicate areas in which action may be taken.

When to use

The place standard tool can help you to achieve a number of aims.

Communities can use the tool to assess what works about their place and where it needs to improve. This may be part of a wider discussion about the regeneration of an area, or it might be to inform a new place or development which is planned nearby.

Local authorities and Community Planning Partnerships can use the tool to help plan their activities and prioritise appropriate action.

The development sector can use the tool to establish to the needs of communities and create good places where people want to live.

What happens next

The place standard tool is part of a process, not the end of a process. In considering what you do next, you should think about opportunities to develop and build upon the conversations and relationships the tool has initiated.

The method allows assessment to be consistent and comparable over time to see if improvement has been made. In order to get the most out the tool you will want to record the qualities of the place and the reasons for your rating. This will be useful for people to set the ambition for their place.

Perth and Kinross

The Community Planning Partnership intends to use the Place Standard to help people tell us more about where they live and help us identify improvements. We will keep you updated when and in which areas we will be planning to use Place Standard.

 

 

Useful references

Place Standard – Online tool

Place Standard- Paper copy

NHS Health Scotland- Information 

Improvement Service- Information 

Perth and Kinross Council- Community Planning Policy

Perth and Kinross Council- Planning and Building