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Building for Scotland's Communities

We are the organisations whose members plan, design, build and manage Scotland’s cities, towns, buildings, and infrastructure. We represent a combined membership of around 22,500 people across Scotland and recognise the need for our professions to work together to build Scotland’s future. Our built environment is critical to how we live our lives. Our members will play an important part in how we achieve a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. We will support the governments route map for a different Scotland that must:

  • tackle climate change and achieve Scotland’s net zero carbon reduction targets,
  • reduce health inequalities across Scotland,
  • support a wellbeing economy,
  • ensure a quality and affordable home for everyone who needs one.

This will require new ways of working to achieve the ‘new normal’. Ways that embed resilience into how our buildings, landscapes and places in cities, towns, villages, and neighbourhoods ‘function and develop over time. We believe that this requires shifts:

  • from short-term, project focussed investment to a planned long term holistic vision,
  • from having overlapped and disjointed strategies to collective and complementarity policy making,
  • from an opportunistic, reactive approach to development, to a planned, proactive approach,
  • from economic priorities, to holistic priorities to tackle environmental, social and economic issues,
  • from a competitive investment approach, to sustainable managed investment,
  • from a ‘deal-making’ approach, to one based on providing a place vision first.

We support this vision and urge that Ministers activate:

Professionalism. Our highly skilled professionals meet the exacting standards to become and remain members. Their expertise in planning, designing, building, maintaining, and managing buildings and places, needs to be recognised in policy development, delivery, and procurement.

There is a fundamental priority to ‘shift the gaze’ from measuring success from metrics around speed and quantity, to the quality of places, buildings, and infrastructure.

Prioritisation. Our members rely upon a clear policy context supported by funding to deliver. We believe that this must promote and prioritise climate action, tackling inequalities, improving our Nation’s health and wellbeing creating an inclusive economy and delivering quality housing and infrastructure, both natural and built, to support communities.

Scotland needs joined up and coordinated government funding programmes and strategies specifically linking the aims of the National Planning Framework, Infrastructure Investment Plan, Housing Investment Strategy, Land Use Strategy, Energy Strategy, Climate Change Plan, National Transport Strategy and Public Health Strategy, alongside overall policy aims in health and social wellbeing and creating a low carbon and circular economy.

People. Our members strive to play their role in supporting the delivery of national policy priorities and Scotland’s National Outcomes, including tackling climate change, achieving net zero emissions by 2045 and meeting new housing targets. This requires investing in these services, supporting their continued development, and ensuring we have a pipeline of professionals coming through to ensure we meet these ambitions.

There must be support for future professionals, to reverse the disinvestment in public services and to develop a range of alternative routes to qualification.

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is the champion of planning and the planning profession. We work to promote the art and science of planning for the public benefit. We have around 2100 members in Scotland and a worldwide membership of over 25,000. RTPI Scotland’s members represent both the public and private sector interests and will in large part be responsible for the successful delivery of the planning system.


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