The Value of Design in the Built Environment (Scotland)

The Scottish Government recently appointed a team (Douglas Wheeler Associates, Ryden, Austin Smith Lord) to conduct research into the value of design in the built environment.  Doug Wheeler, who directs the team, provides an update:

‘Creating Places’, the SG’s June 2013 policy statement on architecture and place, states that good design is not merely how a building looks, it is an innovative and creative process that delivers value.  Already from the literature review and initial consultations we’ve identified nine different types of value.  These include:

  • Physical value - enhances a setting / place / environment
  • Functional value - meets and adapts to the long-term operational needs of all users
  • Construction value - the quality and robustness of construction, materials and finishes used
  • Economic value - provides positive economic benefit to stakeholders
  • Financial value - provides good value for money / return on investment to owner
  • Social value - develops a positive sense of identity and community
  • Environmental value - efficient and responsible use of resources
  • Cultural value - enhances preserves and enlivens distinctive characteristics
  • Image value - improved awareness and prestige

The literature review and initial consultations have helped to shape an online questionnaire with around twenty five questions. We are also collating a database of interested individuals who will receive an email link to the Questionnaire.

The Questionnaire will explore:

  • How well is good design currently valued?
  • How value is currently assessed?
  • If value of design should be assessed in a different way?

The aim is also to identify places that show the value of design.  The Questionnaire should go live on 29 November and be completed by 12 December.

If you have any views or require more background information please contact: Susie Stirling (  or Doug Wheeler ( The Team is also using Twitter and #sgvalueofdesign to encourage discussion on the research.

More information on the project, can be found at: