News  |  Posted October 28, 2022

Engaging young people in planning – Focus on Fife

A blog about our recent youth engagement project in Fife.

Approximately one in five (21%) people in Scotland are 19 and under[1], but young people are often not consulted during decision-making in the planning of their local places. As Scotland works towards inclusivity in urban planning, engaging with young people about what they want to see in the built environment is a top priority.

Planning Aid Scotland (PAS) has an extensive background in bringing placemaking to those with seldom-heard voices, such as young people. Previous projects include Bridging the Gap and In the Footsteps of Geddes.

In summer 2022, Fife Council commissioned PAS to collect the ideas, opinions, and suggestions of young Fife residents in order to inform Fife’s next Local Development Plan (LDP). PAS named the project #FocusOnFife.

Local Development Plans (LDPs) define the goals and intentions of an area and map the future of how it might change. They look 20 years into the future and are reviewed every 10 years. Decisions about planning applications are based on the LDP for an area, so consulting as many people as possible during the generation of an LDP ensures communities are satisfied with the type of development happening in their area. In the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, it became compulsory for councils to engage meaningfully with young people during the generation of LDPs.

Between June and September 2022, PAS engaged with over 200 people aged 16-25 to better understand their perception of Fife. The engagement took two forms: a virtual survey and a series of in-person workshops across Fife. The workshop sessions engaged with young people across Fife; and the virtual survey served as an accessible means of further engagement.

Jigsaw image with message 'Your voice is the missing piece'Underpinned by PAS’ core values of inclusivity and participation, PAS consulted a diverse range of people within the target age demographic. The consultation included input from young people with a range of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. This took place in community group, college, and university forums. In total, young people contributed over 300 comments which were filtered through a Place Standard framework.

Guiding themes identified for improvement in Fife include play and recreation, public transportation, facilities and amenities, and feeling safe.

“There are not enough activities or entertainment for the age range of 13-18.”

“I think there is a lack of opportunities for young adults in the area. For socialising, recreation, being outdoors, good quality employment, etc.”

“I’d like to see parks refurbished and youth clubs brought back.”

Young people live the longest with the decisions being made now, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to develop environments that are safe, interesting, and supportive for people of all ages.


[1] National Records of Scotland. October 2020 update. Scotland’s Population 2019. The Registrar General’s Annual Review of Demographic Trends. [Accessed October 2022]