On Thursday 28 November, we held a joint event with NHS Health Scotland to share information about a recent project testing the applicability of the Place Standard tool to assess the quality of Gypsy/Traveller sites.
The aim of the project, commissioned by NHS Health Scotland, was to assess the applicability of the Place Standard tool with Gypsy/Traveller communities across Scotland to better understand how place impacts our health and wellbeing. Studies have shown that places where we spend our time have an important impact on our lives, health and wellbeing.
Over three months, we engaged with Gypsy/Traveller communities in four local authority and four health board areas. The learning from this project has the potential to inform how local authorities and other public services might engage holistically to improve the places where Gypsy/Travellers live.
This project supports the wider agenda to create places that are more responsive to the needs of our Gypsy/Traveller communities: the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2019/2020 highlights actions being taken to improve the lives of Gypsy/Travellers, including a new joint action plan between COSLA and Scottish Government, and a 10-point action plan to strengthen the voice of Gypsy/Travellers in planning system.
It is recommended that the partners developing the Place Standard Tool (Scottish Government, NHS Health Scotland and Architecture and Design Scotland) together with COSLA:
- Consider the development of amendments to the Place Standard Guidance in consultation with the Gypsy/Traveller community and other partners to recognise the Gypsy/Traveller culture and lifestyle to improve its applicability within that community;
- Explore the development of the Place Standard Tool or another tool to allow the assessment of Gypsy/Travellers’ experience of temporary sites as part of their travelling lifestyle;
- Initiate action to improve the awareness and understanding of Gypsy/Travellers’ culture and lifestyle, the roles of places or sites, permanent and temporary, in that lifestyle and what makes a successful place for a Gypsy/Traveller community, among built environment professionals and elected representatives;
- Support organisations with knowledge and understanding of the Gypsy/Traveller community to provide resources and services to facilitate Gypsy/Travellers’ engagement with processes influencing and shaping their places.
- Reflect the importance of landscape and nature within the Gypsy/Traveller culture.