This website is now part of Public Health Scotland. Publications released after 16 March 2020 are now published on the Public Health Scotland website.
Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

The Place Standard tool

The Place Standard tool lets communities, public agencies, voluntary groups and others find those aspects of a place that need to be targeted to improve people's health, wellbeing and quality of life.

You can watch this short video on how the tool can help you improve the quality of your place.


The Place Standard tool provides a simple framework to structure conversations about place and community. Its questionnaire format allows you to think about and assess

  • the physical environment - the buildings, streets, public spaces and natural spaces that make up a place
  • the social environment - the relationships, social contact and support networks that make up a community.

The tool is available online and can be downloaded to print out.

How the tool works

The tool asks 14 questions about the physical and social elements of a place. Questions relate to themes, which can be seen around the outer rim of the diagram below. Participants answer by scoring from 1 to 7, where 1 means there is a lot of room for improvement and 7 means there is very little room for improvement.

Results are plotted on the diagram with the points closer to the centre representing those areas most in need of improvement while those towards the edge are strengths.

The circular Place Standard Tool chart showing plotted numerical ratings in each of the 14 segments made in response to the questionnaire.
Image caption The Place Standard tool. From the plotted answers in this example, identity and belonging is most in need of improvement for this community, while public transport and housing and community are strengths.

The Place Standard can benefit all new and existing communities and can also help tackle health inequalities.

The tool has been built jointly by NHS Health Scotland, the Scottish Government and Architecture & Design Scotland.

To support use of the Place standard tool, please access the Place Standard Learning Resource (external site) .

This learning resource is applicable to any group of people wanting to undertake a Place Standard assessment. It has been designed mainly with community and third sector groups and organisations in mind.

You can contact us to find out more about the tool, or how to join the Place Standard Alliance.