World of work – Firrhill High School and planning

Last week, pupils from Firrhill High School, spent two days with the planning service to experience the range of work we do and to give us their ideas on what the city could be like in the future.  The programme included:

  • Mapping how young people use the city
  • Sharing photos of their favourite places
  • Using the Place Standard to assess how the city works as a place for young people
  • A visit to the St James Centre redevelopment project
  • An exercise on what the issues will be for the next Local Development Plan and how best to engage young people

The feedback from the school was really positive, with the young people having the opportunity to learn more about the work of the planning service and the challenges for the city.  It certainly has given us lots to think about for the next local development plan.

We were also delighted to hear that the group of pupils who visited us, won first place as part of the school’s business placement exercise.

Engaging children and young people in Planning

The planning service has over the years undertaken various events, workshops and engagement exercises with children and young people to help share what we do and get their views on planning in the city.  This has included The Forth Bridge short story competition, Shops in Town Centres and the Junior road safety and air quality events.

In December last year, working with PAS, we delivered three workshops with Hermitage Park and Craigentinny primary schools and Leith Academy.  Together we explored the role of planning and how the young people would like to see Leith and the wider waterfront area change in the future.  The storyboard below is a summary of the workshops. The full report on the workshops is also available.

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Last week the Council’s Planning Committee agreed a report which sets out how we can better involve children and young people in how we plan the city.

We were delighted that pupils from Leith Academy took part in the committee discussions to present their view of the workshops, what they thought was important about their local area and how they’d like to see it change in the future.  The discussion can be viewed on the Council webcast (Item 3.1).

We will be encouraging developers to engage with children and young people in major development proposals to ensure they have their say on the future of their city.  Our guidance for applicants will be updated to reflect this ambition.

What next?

It is the Year of the Young People and we are committed to better involving children and young people in the planning system.  We will be working in collaboration with other Council services and the Young Edinburgh Action programme to ensure we deliver more meaningful engagement.

In April we will be holding a ‘co-design’ session with young people. We hope they will help us shape how to best engage all children and young people in the next Local Development Plan and other projects.

As this progresses we’ll provide more updates on the blog, with a full update going to planning committee next year.

Junior Road Safety Event and air quality

On 13 and 14 September we held workshops at the Junior Road Safety Event at The City Chambers to show school kids how everyday activities contribute to air pollution.  The event is organised by colleagues in Road Safety and Active Travel who work with Junior Road Safety Officers (JRSOs) to help promote road safety and active travel amongst their peers.  They do this through competitions, assemblies and events in school, and help them put together their travel plans to reduce cars on the school run, reduce congestion and promote walking, scooting and cycling.

This annual event brings together Edinburgh primary school children who are JRSOs and provides them with ideas to promote road safety issues in their school and local community.

Air pollution has been recently described by the World Health Organisation’s Director General as ’the major public health issue of our generation’.  Because we can’t always see it, it is easy not to think about it.

But transport is a major source of local air pollution here in Edinburgh, and reducing vehicle emissions or using our cars less for example by walking or cycling instead, is one way we can help improve air quality.

The workshop activity used food colourings to represent pollutants in air. Adding drops of these to glasses of water (representing clean air) allowed the children to see how their individual activities including travel to school can pollute the air we breathe. The children compared their glasses and discussed ways they could reduce their own contributions.

The feedback we got from the children who attended the event was really positive and we hope it helps to give them a better understanding of some of the air quality issues in the city.

#SYPC2017

I have titled this post with a hashtag, as we were asked to promo the event on social media.

Emma’s blog post #4: #SYPC2017

SYPC stands for Scottish Young Planners Conference. The conference consisted of morning lectures with Q&A sessions, and afternoon workshops (and then drinks after). The whole day was geared around giving young planners the skills they need to be successful.

The first talk was given by Kevin Stewart MSP, titled “People, Places and Planning: skills and the planning review”. The Q&A for this was particularly good, as it gave us the chance to question the Minister on the planning review, and future prospects for planning in Scotland.

There’s a picture of the Minister that I took and put on the planning Edinburgh insta which you should all be following.

By the way, the most used buzzword was “collaboration” (we guess. We didn’t keep a tally or anything). Coincidentally, “collaboration” is the very word Bob Reid (former convenor of RTPI Scotland) said we should replace with “mobilisation”. Bob’s talk was all about “collaborating: working together to deliver development”, and he says there’s no point in talking about things if you’re not getting anything done; collaboration v mobilisation.

Nicola Barclay, CEO of Homes for Scotland gave a talk on “leading”. She spoke about her journey to the role she’s in now, and what helped shape her into the leader she is today. She recommended we all do a quiz (something like this) to see what positive traits we have that we might not recognise on our own. Very inspirational stuff, loved it.

I attended 2 of the afternoon workshops;

“Making development work: the economics of development”, given by Catherine Wood (Gladman) and Ian Drummond (Taylor Wimpey).

Despite this being largely maths based, the process of valuing land was explained to us in a way we (most of us, anyway) could understand…. That toss up between giving better designed places or maximising profit. Toughy.

Also “make yourself an asset: effective networking and business development”, from Sandra Lindsay (Springfield Properties) and Michael Halliday (Halliday Fraser Munro).

This, I could totally get on board with. We learnt how to do an “elevator pitch”, which was effectively me selling myself to a stranger in 1 minute without coming across as a weirdo… I’ll have to keep you posted on how I manage with that…

To conclude: the information provided was very good, we all learned a lot throughout the day, and I didn’t lose a bet about “vision” being the most used buzzword.

Emma

Ps. It took a solid 24 minutes for Donald Trump to be mentioned, and he was subsequently mentioned maybe 3 further times;

“Do not leave the wrong impression” – we were learning about how to effectively network, here

 

Summer students – final blog

Hello everyone,

Today is our final day of our summer placement with the Planning and Transport team here at the Council.  We would like to thank the team here for a great summer full of invaluable experience.  We’re really going to miss coming into work every day and sharing our experiences.  As a final blog, we thought we’d cover some highlights of our time here.  This has included:

  • Helping out with the Pop-up cities expo in July we thoroughly enjoyed being part of an event and gave us the opportunity to meet some really inspiring people…Douglas Pritchard, Heriot Watt (3D mapping), Sarah from Neatebox, Richard Roger from MESH (Mapping Edinburgh’s Social History), Susan (biodiversity officer), and of course Jenny and Chloe from here at the Council.Edinburgh Pavillion
  • Helping to promote the World Heritage Site consultation for the new management plan by taking to the streets to interview people, gaining real feedback and turning their thoughts into recordings which will inform the new management plan.  Also, the ongoing work promoting and raising awareness for the consultation through social media, the result was incredible, we are proud to have been part of it!World heritage consultation
  • Meeting with Robb McCrae and Tamsin Cunningham from the Edinburgh Too event, gaining a sneak preview of their show and sharing their artistic impression on planning issues in Edinburgh was really interesting
  • Collaborating with team members on the Royal Mile shop front appraisal and the Open Space Strategy
  • Meeting Erica Flett from the West-End BID and helping to promote the team and their vision for the BID, which they are working hard to establish
  • Helping to promote the New Town and the Portobello character appraisals, our photography skills have certainly improved!New Town door
  • Taking a tour of Leith waterfront for our new German friends, 14 students and a professor joined us to learn about the successes and challenges of Edinburgh waterfront for a university project. It was lovely to network on an international scale, and it was great experience and we now feel confident with skills gained in tour guiding…!

    Fellow students from Ruhr University
    Fellow students from Ruhr University

It’s been great to be able to share all this on the blog with the people in Edinburgh and across the globe using social media.  We hope our efforts to prove its value towards community engagement has been appreciated and is part of our legacy!

We’re grateful to all our readers and glad to announce the team have agreed to keep the blog running; the torch is being handed over to Emma and George, the new year-out placement students.  They will continue to keep you informed of exciting events and upcoming developments in Edinburgh.

Many thanks,

Katie and Luke

Planning students
Planning students – George, Luke, Emma and Katie