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Strategic Research Programme

3.4.2: Place-based policy and implications for policy and service delivery

Research Deliverable 3.4.2 on place-based policy and service delivery in rural Scotland involves Jane Atterton (RD lead), Elliot Meador and Rob McMorran from SRUC and Margaret Currie, Jonathan Hopkins and Andrew Copus from the James Hutton Institute.

This project explores the reasons why economic performance and social outcomes – such as life satisfaction and civic engagement – differ across Scotland’s rural areas and small towns. It will offer perspectives on ways in which policies and services can be better shaped to more effectively tackle economic and social differences between places and foster positive outcomes for people everywhere.

  • The first output from this project was produced in summer 2017 and is a working paper titled 'Place-based policy approaches and rural Scotland', and you can find the report available to download here.
  • The second output published in Autumn 2017 is a working paper titled 'Implications for rural areas of the Christie Commission’s report on the future delivery of public services', written by Dr Margaret Currie of the James Hutton Institute. This paper can be downloaded here.
  • The third output published as part of this project is a working paper describing interdependencies between rural areas, small towns and urban areas and exploring the benefits to rural Scotland from City Region Deals. This paper can be downloaded here.
  • The fourth output was published in August 2018 and is a working paper entitled ‘The Future of Rural Policy in Scotland’, written by Dr Jane Atterton  of SRUC. This paper can be downloaded here.
  • A working paper has also been written which explores definitions and typologies of urban and rural areas used by OECD countries. The paper recommends a new type of typology which exhibits the diversity of rural areas in terms of their assets and constraints might be a valuable addition to the evidence base for rural policy. This paper can be downloaded here.
  • A report and associated briefing have been published which explore whether we can measure wellbeing at the community scale. This work has: (i) investigated datasets to explore aspects of wellbeing; (ii) described appropriate indicators which were identified after an assessment of data availability and suitability; and (iii) analysed regional differences in wellbeing, using these indicators. The report from this work can be downloaded here, and the associated briefing here.
  • A new report from this project explores recent research and knowledge exchange activities, led by our colleagues at the James Hutton Institute, exploring what is place-based policy and what evidence base does it need. The report can be downloaded here.
  • A report lead by colleagues at the James Hutton Institute explores stakeholder views on the small area-level evidence base for place-based policy in Scotland, summarising the results on an online questionnaire. The report can be downloaded here.

For more information about this work, please email Jane Atterton ( in the first instance. You can also download a 2-page brochure about the project here.

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