Living Streets is working with Cycling Scotland to assess the conditions for pedestrians around social housing in Scotland.


Four views of different residential properties

Over two years Living Streets Scotland has reviewed conditions for pedestrians at 47 locations where 'Registered Social Landlords' manage property. This work is continuing in a third project year. This is part of the Social Housing Fund partnership work between Cycling Scotland, Living Streets Scotland and SFHA and Sustrans Scotland.

This page includes details of current work, existing reports on the individual locations, and covering reports highlighting our learning.

Our reviews consider:

  • Area context, such as location, building density and through-traffic;
  • Overall street design, and whether this prioritises pedestrians or vehicle movement;
  • Fine details such as footway condition or the presence of crossings or dropped kerbs;
  • Access to places that people need to get to, for example for employment or for basic shopping needs.

Overall findings

Map of north and central Scotland - dots show inspected sites

Our main project report 'Better Streets: Key Issues Across Scotland' highlights that we've seen major issues at all of the locations we've assessed. The same issues appear repeatedly, although in different combinations at each site.

The pavements on local streets are often poorly maintained, level access to carriageways (e.g. with a dropped kerb) is usually missing, and they are often blocked or obstructed by parked vehicles. Streets designed to prioritise pedestrians are rare. Even small roads are designed to prioritise vehicle flow or speed, and can be difficult or impossible for many to cross.

Key facilities, such as any larger shops, are often located outside communities in places which aren't good to get to, and they are designed around the convenience of those driving to them. Larger roads connecting areas are unpleasant to walk beside.  


Ideas for change

As part of this work we've thought about what good urban conditions for walking (and cycling) look like. We think that they:

  • Have a sense of place. They should be the kinds of places that people want to spend time in, as well as pass through.
  • Are accessible from places that are important for people’s lives.
  • Are good for all pedestrians, including people who use mobility aids and have other access needs.
  • Should be judged against their potential to be used for everyday journeys by a very wide range of people from across the community.

Our report 'Better Streets: Ideas For Change' discusses detailed changes which might improve streets, including:

  • improving the overall layout of towns and cities,
  • creating a clearer road hierarchy,
  • tackling the dominance of parked vehicles,
  • improving minor junction design.




Main project reports

Two main project reports are available for download below. The first summarises the conditions we've found to exist across Scotland during the first two years of this project. The second discusses some ideas for change.

When we launched these we wrote a blog post to introduce them, which you can read here.

Better Streets: Key Issues Across Scotland

Better Streets: Ideas For Change

Individual site reports (year 2)

Assessments of conditions for pedestrians around individual sites can be downloaded here. Additional accompanying documents available at the bottom of the page. 

Individual site reports (year 1)

Ongoing support

Details of ongoing support available to Registered Social Landlords in 2021/2022.

We are interested in improving conditions for pedestrians on the streets of our towns and cities. Poor conditions for pedestrians can have profound effects on health, wellbeing, and the simple practicalities of everyday life.

We’re offering our help and expertise to registered social landlords in Scotland, in connection with property you manage, to support you, your tenants, and other stakeholders:

  • to understand how your tenants are affected by conditions for pedestrians,
  • to work out how these could be improved and to build a case to support improvements,
  • to work towards securing funding to support change.

Our support is free to you because it’s funded by the Social Housing Fund.

In this third project year we're particularly keen to look at sites where more significant development work is already likely to take place, including where housing is not yet built, or which are outside the central belt of Scotland.

We can help in different ways, which we can discuss with you. These might include:

  • carrying out an expert review of local conditions and writing a report on these,
  • working with residents to check details, and to develop ideas for change,
  • discussing the findings of a review, and potential changes, with you and other stakeholders (refining our understanding and developing ideas for change),
  • supporting you or other stakeholders to work toward applications for funding to develop ideas further.

To find out more, please contact us and mark your email FAO Robert Weetman.

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