Open Space and Community Plans

Open spaces, like parks and greenspaces, are an important part of where we live, whether that be in towns and cities or in the countryside. In Scotland, Community Planning Partnerships bringing together public organisations set high level priorities for each local authority area, in the form of 'Community Plans'. This infographic highlights that most – but not all – Community Plans in Scotland mention open space in some way. However, only a quarter of plans identify open space as part of their local priorities.

Click on the infographic to enlarge it.

open space and community plans infographic

Community Planning

Each of the 32 Scottish local authorities has a Community Plan (Local Outcome Improvement Plan) that sets high level priorities for their area. Each Plan is produced by the respective Community Planning Partnership, which brings together public sector organisations to plan local services.

Open space references

The infographic shows the different aspects of open space that have been covered in the Community Plans: each of the seven grey squares represents 100% of Plans (i.e. all 32). Each of the smaller green, orange and yellow squares overlaid on top shows the percentage of Plans which make a reference to a particular aspect of open space.

Over three quarters of the Community Plans in Scotland make some kind of reference to open space. In most cases, this is in relation to the natural environment. Just over half of the Plans refer to open space in the context of green space or active travel, and precisely half refer to open space in the context of play and/or sport. Less than a quarter of Community Plans mention open space in terms of providing a multi-functional green infrastructure. One in five Plans do not mention open space at all.

While most Community Plans mention open space in some way, only a quarter include it in the context of a local priority. Instead, references to open space tend to be contextual. For example, certain Plans recognise that the natural environment in the local area is an asset, without developing the topic any further.


The term ‘open space’ includes a wide range of types of space, from natural land to public parks, civic spaces to networks of footpaths. For the purposes of the analysis, a website search identified a copy of each of the 32 Community Plans. Each plan was then searched for specific terms that related to different aspects of open space.

The terms were then grouped into the five categories below, and displayed in the infographic.

Category Search Terms
Natural Environment ‘natural environment’, ‘nature’, ‘biodiversity’, ‘landscape'
Green Space ‘green space’, ‘open space’, ‘park’
Active Travel ‘active travel’, ‘path’, ‘walk’, ‘cycle
Play / Sport ‘play’, ‘sport’
Green Infrastructure ‘green infrastructure’, ‘green network’

In addition, it was also recorded if a reference was made as part of a local priority. The results were collated to provide the data for the infographic.

This infographic appeared in JONO Design e-news. The e-news is published once every couple of months and each issue contains a specially designed infographic.

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