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Sustainable Places

We live in well-designed, sustainable places where we are able to access the amenities and services we need

Sustainable PlacesWhy is this National Outcome important?

Well-designed, sustainable places, both urban and rural, support people's physical and mental wellbeing. They are places in which people want to live. They provide ease of access to the workplaces and services we need by locating these conveniently with high quality housing as part of a mixed community. Mixed communities, providing a range of services, housing types and people, promote interaction and integration - and create positive, diverse neighbourhoods. They are places designed around people, not cars, encouraging activity and social interaction by providing easy access to both amenities and green space. They improve safety by increasing the number of people who use local facilities and generating a real sense of community. And they are sustainable places - both environmentally (harnessing new technologies such as lower carbon buildings) and socially (providing a diverse mix of people and services which allows the community to flourish and grow).

Well-designed, sustainable places also contribute to sustainable economic growth - our reputation for high quality urban and rural environments is an important factor in attracting and retaining people with the skills and talent we need to build a successful Scotland. Improved transport and telecommunications connections will make Scotland more attractive to business and enhance its attractiveness as a place to live and work. And the promotion of more sustainable modes of transport will cut emissions and improve air quality.

What will influence this National Outcome?

The development of well-designed, sustainable places will only happen through effective partnerships - between central and local government, and between the public, private and third sectors (including charities, voluntary and local community groups). And most crucially with the individuals who live in those places and keep them vibrant. Government must create the right environment for investment and increased housing supply; taking targeted action in the most disadvantaged communities and devolving power to the local level so that communities can have more influence and ownership. Community Planning Partnerships have a key role to play. Working together it will be possible to provide the right supply of housing to rent and buy in order to create sustainable, mixed communities.

The planning and building standards systems have a role to play in delivering high quality buildings and infrastructure with better environmental standards. But we must challenge everyone involved in development to drive up standards for planning, design and maintenance of the built and natural environment. In working together we must all be mindful of the unavoidable consequences of climate change and ensure that we develop sustainable communities which are sympathetic to Scotland's landscape and the environment we face - and are likely to face in the coming years.

The role of individuals in bringing places to life cannot be underestimated. Design and infrastructure will only take us so far. Choices we all take about how we travel, what services we use and what we put back into our local communities will have a huge bearing on what we get out of them.

What is the Government's role?

We are committed to creating successful, sustainable communities across Scotland. To do so we will need to work in a broad partnership with developers, local authorities and local communities to deliver a range of economic, physical, social and environmental improvements. We will develop a housing policy which supports sustainable economic growth and will work with local authorities, developers and builders to increase the rate of new housing to at least 35,000 homes a year by the middle of the next decade. By increasing the supply of good quality, affordable housing we will meet the current and future needs of Scotland, allowing labour to move effectively and creating sustainable, mixed communities in which people can live full and productive lives. We will provide a fair deal for first-time buyers, tenants and taxpayers - investing over £1.65 billion between 2008 and 2011 in affordable housing across Scotland.

We will ensure that planning policy encourages the development of sustainable, mixed communities - drawing together the various elements required to achieve that goal. Further action will be taken to promote regeneration in some of Scotland's most deprived areas - with £87 million allocated to four of Scotland's Urban Regeneration Companies to allow comprehensive regeneration of those areas, guided by the communities themselves. And our emphasis on preventing homelessness will be increased, by working with local government to ensure that all unintentionally homeless households have an entitlement to settled accommodation by 2012.

While new development is crucial, we are not interested in development at any cost - our buildings and infrastructure of the future must be sustainable - respecting the needs of the environment while being well-placed to cope with its future demands. We will lead the way by delivering increasingly high standards of environmental performance and design as we refurbish the public sector estate. In partnership with local government and key service providers we will improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of public transport - with significant investment in infrastructure. We will deliver record investment in Scottish Water to provide connections to new developments and improve the quality of water and the environment. And we will lead the way in ensuring that developments make sense in the longer term, by encouraging a more sustainable approach to flood risk management and developing Scotland's first climate change adaptation strategy.

Related Strategic Objectives

Safer and Stronger


Sustainable Places