Councils urged to use Big Data tool for place making

An online tool launched yesterday bringing together data on communities across Scotland could be used by councils to help design services, according to its promoters.

The tool, Understanding Scottish Places (USP), gathers more than 36,000 different pieces of data about places and people in Scotland into an searchable database illustrated by infographics.

The initiative has been launched by a consortium made up of the Carnegie UK Trust, Scotland’s Towns Partnership, the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, and the University of Stirling.

Margaret Burgess, Scottish minister for housing and welfare, said: “USP is a powerful resource for people working across the country giving them the opportunity to design better strategies for their communities – whether they are in council, town partnerships or BIDs, traders associations, businesses or community groups.

“We hope that this platform will encourage communities to look at other towns with similar characteristics and start to share more of their success stories.” 

The launch comes after a poll commissioned by the trust, which found that 54% of Scots value the services available in their local communities.

The survey found that many recognised the interconnections between places in Scotland.

Martyn Evans, chief executive of the trust, said: “USP is a valuable tool for all of those invested in making our town’s better places to live. 

“It recognises that different places have different needs, and require different services and resources.

“It explores the way in which each place has a unique identity and this is how we need to think about places when we design services, invest, and innovate.”

He said that the consortium would now consult on what additional information could be added to the platform.

Colin Marrs

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