The construction and adoption of data zones as a new geography of Scotland

  • Zhiqiang Feng (Participant)
  • Clive Eric Sabel (Participant)
  • Robin Timothy Nicholas Flowerdew (Participant)

    Impact: Public Policy Impact


    Successful planning in Scotland requires a set of geographical units for which data can be collected and analysed. Researchers at St Andrews have developed a new ‘small area’ geography for Scotland. ‘Data zones’ (DZs) provide a scientifically-based template for data mapping and has been adopted as the default geography used by public and private organisations to display and analyse data on topics as diverse as economic planning, health, education and transport, thus impacting how and where policy is enacted. To be statistically appropriate these units have to be compact, homogenous, with approximately the same size population and publically acceptable. This is not a trivial task, involving millions of potentially different solutions. In 2001, Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics (SNS) commissioned St Andrews to study how such units should be defined and to develop a methodology for creating them. Using the experience and skills developed over many years working in this area, the team developed a methodology and established the official small area geography of Scotland.
    Impact statusOpen
    Category of impactPublic Policy Impact


    • REF2014 case study