When is it used?

Contexts of use

The Place Standard has value within many practical contexts. It can be applied and re-applied during several stages in the processes of improving places and creating new places but it is preferable to begin using it early. Applying the tool early should help to ensure that any benefits flowing from actions that are identified or prioritised during use of the tool (for example: investing in the quality of public facilities) are focused on communities or end users from the outset.

The Place Standard can be implemented along with many other techniques or tools within a complex process of change in an area.

The table and timeline below indicate the main points of entry for use:

Stage Role of the PlaceStandard
Early stages

Identifying needs and assets

Aligning priorities and investment

Empowering communities, allowing their views to be articulated

During design and development stages

Action planning

Informing or reviewing proposals

For continuous improvement

Monitoring changes or investments

Community after-care or stewardship

Shared Learning




Early stages Benefits for
Identifying community needs and assets

The Place Standard can help to identify and prioritise local needs. The tool can also highlight community aspirations as well as barriers to change.

The output can provide evidence to inform strategic policy planning, investment in public services or community planning. Output can also steer briefing for masterplanning, urban design and design charrettes. Any of the above can inform investment decisions for housing and community infrastructure, or focus attention on the maintenance or management of buildings/public space/local facilities.

Business planning

Baseline data for evidencing preventative spend

Development plan [Main issues report (MIR)] consultation

Capacity studies for places

Needs assessments, such as for housing

Asset mapping

Data for consultant briefing

Design charrette briefing

Development briefs

Aligning priorities and investment decisions

The Place Standard can help inter-agency or corporate working as part of strategic policy planning, community planning and public sector investment planning.

Applied carefully, it is capable of improving dialogue and action planning amongst people or groups with disparate skills and expertise.

It can support inter-agency working in public service procurement and asset management, e.g. when repairing or procuring new communibuildings, schools, health facilities etc.

It can help integrate local community knowledge with the knowledge and skills of a wide range of professionals. Community members, businesses and organisations can become active partners with the local authority and developers in the improvement of places with wider benefits for all.

Added value from investment

Integration of services

Change management

Public service reform

Community empowerment

A more informal use can help break down "us & them" barriers. People can get together to discuss change, and make more informed decisions to build a wider constituency of support.

It can help foster the empowerment of disadvantaged communities and build a more confident, articulate, collective "voice for a community".

The tool can be used separately by people in communities that find it hard to gather together, perhaps because of the remote or dispersed nature of the community. It presents opportunities for many viewpoints to be gathered together then averaged into a collective view.

The process of assessing a place can generate and develop new ideas or creative solutions.

A "voice for the community"

Participation Statements

Surveying views of the public within a place

Forming ideas

During design and development stages Benefits for
Action planning

The Place Standard provides a structure to help local people, the public sector and third sector to agree and record specific actions needed to improve an area. It can include community-led groups, communities working with public agencies or developers.

A record of application provides a reference point for continuity. The output is a direct link between the community involved and those subsequently responsible for implementation. The action plan can be refreshed if barriers emerge or circumstances change.

Community action plans

Town centre action plans

Locality planning

Inequalities action plans



Mixed use development

Education facilities

Health facilities


Town centres

Informing proposals

In a professional context, and once local policies and strategic decisions are in place, the tool can inform how proposed places are planned or designed. Whether within local authority design briefs, development masterplans or more generally in the private sector in the work of urban designers, architects and spatial designers, the output from assessing emerging design proposals can steer ongoing decisions.

Development frameworks


Urban design

A collaborative approach to street design using Designing Streets

Reviewing proposals

In a community context, the tool can be used to appraise the merits of alternative proposals for change, such as options for locating a new school. This is most effective where the community or users of facilities can directly influence design, such as through a workshops or charrettes.

In a professional context, the tool can be used in desktop assessments. Consider the community perspective, it can be used to integrate new development or public services into an existing place.

It can be used by assessors of design proposals such as architects and planning authorities, who can put themselves in the mind's eye of people who will be there once a proposal is built, and consider how a future resident would rate their place. The place-based needs of an imagined community that would occupy a development can be assessed.

Participation in design

Community engagement

Option appraisal

Desktop review

Design and access statements

Development management

Planning performance

For continuous improvement Benefits for
Monitoring changes or investments

The Place Standard can be used to assess the effectiveness of change that has been implemented. For new development it can survey the post-occupancy experiences of communities and residents.

It provides a chance to measure the effectiveness of initiatives and/or new development from a community perspective.

Case study evidence

Benchmarking across time

Demonstrating investment value

Community after-care or stewardship

The tool can be used by residents and others to discuss and monitor maintenance, management and factoring issues over time and to flag up any deficit requiring action, further change or improved management.

Residents associations

Community councils

Amenity groups

Shared learning

The accessible format of the output from the tool allows lessons to be learned then passed on to others.

Evidence of success that results from action identified during the application of the tool can be shared across different places.

Shared learning across communities and between agencies

Benchmarking between places with similar characteristics