Supporting/leading creative design processes – design charrettes/workshops/sprints

Voice Scotland

Increasingly simplified methods of communication and ‘real time’ experiences of people perceptions and wishes for design are necessary. This has been grasped successfully by Scottish Council for Development and Industry (now ‘Prosper’) who in line with the National Standards for Community Engagement, recognised the potential benefits of planning and recording software that assists individuals, organisations and partnerships to develop a ‘data bank’. This approach enabled the adoption of a ‘Plan, Do, Review’ methodology and facilitated continuous improvement. Further details on this and related are at:

The practical application of this technique through design has given rise to interesting design led charrette engagement methods such as that adopted by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust in running ‘Petcha Kutcha’ digital storytelling exercises as party of a 2020 design Charette, held in Kincardine, Fife.


Planning Aid Scotland are a further actor within the Scottish Planning profession committed to digital planning development and the involvement of community stakeholders in supporting design or placemaking. They have applied this by identifying amongst other tools, a digital engagement and collaboration application titled ‘PlaceBuilder’. It was first piloted within Glasgow City Council area assisting 2020 engagement by the City Council on their New Local Development Plan and continues now to be advocated by Planning Aid Scotland.

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This application is designed ‘mobile first’ embracing the digital by design mantra discussed earlier in this handbook, and ensuring that users across many types of devices or scenarios can use it confidently. The application is map based providing and drawing on spatial data to enable communities’ priorities or user feedback to be accurately recorded. This also enables the grouping of suggestions or proposals enabling better, seamless integration of aspects such as neighbourhood asset improvements or suggestions for place led enhancement.

Perhaps uniquely and invaluable in considering design led creative process the PlaceBuilder platform also enables the consideration and scenario assessment of place design cost impacts via its ‘Create a Town Tool’ and enables Government agencies or planning authorities or communities themselves to carry out consultation or to track the progress of projects to show how comments made and consultation undertaken have been influential.

The roll out of this tool and the recognition of its application in supporting the Scottish Government Digital Planning Strategy has also occurred with the Scottish Government announcing in 2021 that it seeks to award one community-scale subscription for use in each of the 32 local authorities in Scotland free of charge up to December 2023. It is understood that eligible organisations are encouraged to adopt these for Local Community planning purposes including Local Place Plans. As such uptake occurs and case studies emerge then clearly opportunity will be presented for feedback, evaluation and development.

Software available

3D Urban Model

In applying much of this smart technology and in integrating design thinking with that of digital application/s, Glasgow City Council have also developed a ‘3D Urban Model’ in conjunction with partners and consultants Esri UK. This encompasses the Digital Glasgow Strategy and uses data from the Glasgow Open data portal/s to convey and interpret the city in its current design form and that of hypothetical future ones.

The digital map stimulates design led discussion, public engagement and provides an illustrative basis and interactive tool for story boarding to inform development Plans and neighbourhood plans. It also provides an integrated basis for landscape planning, flood risk management and the improved application or use of vacant and derelict land across the city.

It can be accessed here: Glasgow City Council (

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