An evaluation of the Place Standard Tool as a means of examining inequalities in relation to place

Lauren Powell, Zoe McCluskey, Helen Bewsher, Philip Brown, Timothy Gomersall, Jenny Retzler, Owen Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Improving the quality of places is a crucial element in addressing the inequalities that exist across the UK. While standardised tools exist to structure conversations about place, the extent to which these capture inequalities remain unclear. This study examined the utility of the Place Standard Tool (PST) as a means of understanding inequalities in relation to place. A dataset of 8,218 PST responses collected in the north of England, and the PST itself, were analysed using an inequalities lens with a particular focus on the qualitative data collected through the tool. The results showed that despite limits to the demographic data recorded by the PST such as the lack of ethnicity and disability data, key themes relating to protected characteristic groups were captured in the data. The analysis identified the themes of ethnicity, gender, physical mobility, economic status, and housing situation as particularly prominent within the dataset, and reflects on how these themes affect people’s relationships with place. In its current form, the PST demonstrates an ability to improve understanding of inequalities in relation to place. However, extra consideration, particularly relating to ensuring the PST is applied equitably, and some adaptation of questions would unlock its full potential.

- Improving the quality of demographic data collected is a key part of improving the accuracy and equity of data collection.
- Responding proactively to gaps in response rates during data collection exercises can improve the overall quality of data collected, particularly for minority groups.
- Considering equitable and accessible ways to collect data using the Place Standard Tool is key to fulfilling its potential as a tool for examining inequalities in relation to place.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalLocal Environment
Early online date23 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Nov 2023

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