The Southside Place Standard


The Southside Placemaking Exercise

The City of Edinburgh Council in partnership with various organisations from the Southside, will be holding a Placemaking exercise to get your views on what you think works well and what doesn’t work so well in the Southside.

The Southside

How to get involved

We will be carrying out a placemaking exercise using the Place Standard tool which has been developed by A&DS, the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland. We will take groups of people through the exercise in facilitated sessions.  We’d like as many of the community as possible to get involved to help make the process work.

The Place Standard wheel shows how people scored different aspects of their area. 1 being very poor, 7 being excellent. (This is an illustrative example and not the scores for the Southside).

This is the third time we have used this process, so we know it is a successful tool.  It will help inform the Town Centre Supplementary Guidance and the Southside Locality Improvement Plan.


Tuesday 22nd November

  • 1st Session 17:30
  • 2nd Session 18:45

Saturday 26th November

  • 1st Session 10:00
  • 2nd Session 11:00


Southside Community Centre

Please let us know if you’re interested in coming along to one of the sessions by contacting

What is Placemaking?

Places that work well for the community have a significant influence on the health and well-being of individuals. The opposite is also true – places that do not work well have a negative impact on health and well-being. The aim of placemaking is to create successful places.

We can measure the success of a place through the use of a tool called the Place Standard . This consists of a series of indicators that allow the community to assess things like access to greenspace, general maintenance of an area and perception of safety. This tells us where a place is succeeding and where it is failing.

The Scottish Government’s policy on Architecture and Place – Creating Places sets the context for how we can deliver great places.

What will happen after the exercise?

This process will give us lots of information about the Southside and how it works well as a town and where it doesn’t and we can use this to inform what we do as a Council and how new development can support the qualities of the Southside.

This is not just another consultation, it is an opportunity to make a difference to the area in which you live, work and visit.

Information regarding these events is also  available on the City of Edinburgh Council’s consultation hub.


Celebrating World Town Planning Day 2016 and the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning


World Town Planning Day 2016

Today marks World Town Planning Day, an annual event which has been running since 1949, where planners from across the globe engage in activities to raise awareness about the importance of planning in their communities. This international day sees 30 countries celebrating the achievements of planners and their contributions to the communities that they serve by participating in various activities.

The theme for this year’s World Town Planning Day is “Cities and Climate Change: Local Responses to a Global Challenge” and will be discussed in an online conference on the Planning the World website later on today.

It is important on days like today to remember Scotland’s very own Sir Patrick Geddes, who was one of the founding fathers of the British Town Planning movement. Geddes was instrumental in the improvement of the Old Town in the 19th Century. Geddes’ theory was that in order to improve a place, you had to be a part of the community. He moved his family into James Court, which at the time was a near-slum off the Lawnmarket at the top of the Royal Mile. He started by improving the building in which he and his family lived, which then inspired his neighbours and wider community into communal action. He had proved his theory.

Our Tribute to Sir Patrick Geddes here at Waverley Court

Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning 2016

To coincide with World Town Planning Day, the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning 2016 will be taking place this evening. Tonight we will be attending the awards and we are delighted that two of our projects have been shortlisted. These are:

  • The Open Space Strategy 2010
  • The Planning and Building Standards Lean Reviews

As well as a joint submission with Fife Council for the Forth Bridge World Heritage Partnership Project.

The awards are run by the Scottish Government and this year they have introduced a new People’s Choice Award category.  This allowed you to vote for any of the submissions and includes our submission for the use of the Place Standard in South Queensferry.

We will update you as to how we get on.

Wish us Luck!

The Future of Edinburgh’s Open Spaces


Hello All,

As a “tourist” for a year in Edinburgh (when I’m not working as a Trainee Planner with the Council!), I endeavour to make the most of everything that the City has to offer. A couple of weeks ago, one Sunday, I spontaneously decided to walk up to Arthur’s Seat. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, I could not have picked a better day. The views from the top of the ancient volcano were utterly mesmerising; a real sense of escapism.

I’m sure that for most of us, our parks and green spaces are an important aspect of our day-to-day living. Visually attractive places which help improve our physical and mental health; open spaces really are a key factor in shaping our quality of life.

However, according to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the future of parks may not be so bright, with recent issues arising such as revenue budget cuts and declining maintenance in some cases. In order to cope with such challenges and to improve the efficiency of park management, the city adopted the Edinburgh Living Landscape programme in 2012.

Over the last 5 years, 15 of the city’s largest parks have substantially improved and 22 play areas have been upgraded. The success of Edinburgh’s parks can be attributed to the involvement of Friends and other community groups, as well as the Council.

The Council’s Open Space Strategy (2010) is currently shortlisted for a Scottish Award for Quality in Planning because of its commitment to ensuring the continued success, improvement and upgrading of Edinburgh’s parks and public spaces.

In order to make sure that the next Open Space Strategy helps the city meet its future green space needs, we need your help.  It is you, the people of Edinburgh, who use and appreciate these parks and green spaces and make them a successful, cohesive, leisure environment.

We are therefore inviting you to comment on Edinburgh’s draft Open Space Strategy, which sets out Edinburgh’s open space needs from now until 2021.

Be part of the future of Edinburgh’s open spaces

For existing green spaces there are opportunities that exist to turn under-used green spaces into community gardens and wildlife areas and to enhance the city’s historic cemeteries and burial grounds.

As the city grows, the key challenges will be securing new parks and green networks for future generations. This will require a co-operative design approach involving Planners, Architects, Landscape Architects, Ecologists and place-making focused community engagement.

This is a fantastic opportunity for you to have your say on the draft Strategy by taking part in the short online survey. These open spaces are your open spaces, so come on and get involved.

Anyway, that’s all for now folks.




Corstorphine Place Standard


Luke and Katie have gone back to university and have left their successful Planning Edinburgh blog in the capable hands of myself (George) and Emma. We are planning students from Newcastle University and are here for a year, so keep your eyes peeled for blog updates on what is happening in the city in the coming months.

The first event I would like to tell you about is the Place Standard activity that I attended on the night of Tuesday 23 August in Kirk Loan Hall at Corstorphine Old Parish Church. The idea of the event was to give people an opportunity to assess a variety of aspects of the place in which they live.

The Place Standard is a tool to evaluate the quality of a place, and it is easy to use. There are 14 questions which cover the social and physical elements of a place. Each question is given a score out of 7 based on what  people think and feel, 7 being excellent and 1 being poor. The interesting part of this exercise comes during the discussion of each question, because everyone around each table has to go agree on a score for each question. So if you have two people who are polar opposite on an issue such as facilities and amenities, it does create some entertaining discussion.

Once all 14 questions had been answered and eventually agreed upon, the results were drawn onto a simple diagram which can be seen below:

Corstorphine DiagramAs you can see, the people who attended are very positive about their area. Although, it is also clear that traffic and parking is a big issue. That is why we do this exercise, it is easy to see what is working well and what needs to be improved upon, and for people to give their views and have a chance to express their feelings about the place in which they live and be able to show them a visual representation of what they think of Corstorphine at the end of the activity. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and it was great to see people feeling empowered and listening to what they had to say.

There are more Place Standard events coming up if you would like to get involved.

Corstorphine Placemaking 1
Deep in discussion…


Corstorphine Placemaking 2
Showing the people the completed diagram based on what they had said.

Anyway that’s all for now folks.


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