Most Scots don’t believe their communities are thriving, Places for People Scotland finds

Most Scots don't believe their communities are thriving, Places for People Scotland finds

Tom Norris

A new poll has revealed what people across Scotland say they need for their communities to thrive as the cost of living crisis continues.

The poll, commissioned by Places for People Scotland, shows that a feeling of being safe (89%), access to nearby shops and other local businesses (85%), easy access to public transport (83%), high-quality public spaces (76%) and a variety of housing types and tenures (57%) rank highly for people across Scotland when considering what contributes to a thriving community.

The polling also shows that the majority (56%) of people in Scotland do not believe their community is currently thriving, with only 13% of respondents claiming they believe their community is equipped to manage the cost of living crisis.

The findings were shared with industry experts during the Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual Scottish Housing Festival this week.

The survey of 1,200 people across Scotland shows that:

  • When asked about what contributes to a thriving community, the most identified factor was a feeling of being safe, 89% cited this.
  • None of the criteria participants were asked about – pulled from the 20-minute neighbourhood concept – received less than 52% of respondents citing it as contributing to a thriving community.
  • An overwhelming majority (89%) believe that housing plays a vital or important role in creating thriving communities.
  • Only 13% of respondents said their community is well equipped to manage the cost-of-living crisis, with young people being the most likely group to say their community isn’t equipped to weather the storm - 61% of 16-34-year-olds disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement, ‘My community is well equipped to manage the cost of living crisis’.
  • Half (50%) of 35-44-year-olds also said they didn’t believe their community is prepared for the cost of living crisis.
  • Over half of respondents (56%) said their community is not thriving.
  • Of these, over a third (35%) said that a lack of good, quality housing meant their community was not thriving.

Speaking ahead of his address at the conference, Tom Norris, managing director of Places for People Scotland, said: “The people who make up our communities in Scotland have been very clear about what they want and need to thrive. It’s therefore vital that we listen carefully, support and act accordingly.

“As a housing association, we strive to do this each and every day with our customers and their communities, but it is helpful to see this country-wide poll which reinforces the need for diverse and high-quality housing within well-designed spaces, giving people connectivity, opportunities, and local services.”

According to the survey, people in Scotland believe that a feeling of safety, access to nearby shops and local businesses, housing, high-quality public spaces and services, and good transport links contribute to thriving communities.

Places for People Scotland is calling for further investment in Scotland’s communities and affordable housing. It also calls for a joined-up approach between the public and third sectors, sharing knowledge and resources to improve safety and address the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis within communities.

Tom Norris added: “As we so often see from our own customers, a safe, good quality home is the springboard from which opportunities are created and grasped. With homeless applications rising alongside ambitious net zero targets for new homes, it is clear we need more investment in housing to both meet the demands and develop thriving and sustainable communities.”

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