A series of studies investigating the public life of Edinburgh’s town centres reveal how each currently functions in terms of pedestrian/cyclist movement and as a place.
Public Life Street Assessments, carried out by design consultants HERE+NOW for the Council, involve a mix of direct observation methodologies, user interviews and more focussed sub studies such as facade, land use and activity studies. In-depth analysis of this data identifies trends in the way people currently use the street environment. This has informed suggested opportunities for improvement.
The studies provide valuable information for all parties with an interest in maximising public life within Edinburgh’s town centres. They have already informed the preparation of Supplementary Guidance for each of the town centres, draft Locality Improvement Plans and a design and an improved public space trial project within Stockbridge.
Update – using the studies
One of the studies has already informed input to a Locality Improvement Plan (LIP) – the South West LIP includes reference to the Gorgie/Dalry Town Centre which was informed by the relevant study. More detailed work will be under taken to develop to a delivery plan with associated timescales.
The Supplementary Guidance, which are about to be adopted, will be used to determine relevant planning applications.
The studies will also be used as an input to the LDP Action Programme, due to be updated early 2018. We’ll share the Action Programme here on the blog and on Twitter when it’s out too.
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:
As 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.