Open Space 2021: Co-design of a new community park for Greendykes

Liz Thomas from Here + Now CIC gave the third presentation in a series of talks to raise awareness of Open Space 2021, Edinburgh’s new Open Space Strategy.

Liz’s talk focused on the process of co-design with the local community in Craigmillar which led to the final plans for a new park in Greendykes. This involved learning from local knowledge and organisations to give them a strong voice in the design process and shape a new park based on people’s needs.

The engagement process for the park started before any design was prepared. At the first community drop-in session held in Craigmillar Library, people choose images that spoke to them about what the future park could be.

People weren’t asked for a shopping list of items but how they would like to use the park, so that the designers could plan for these activities and functions according to the house builders’ budget.

Here+Now did a walkabout with P5 school children to discuss their hopes for the park and the children will continue to be involved as the park is built. This will include painting colourful ‘totem’ stakes for the park’s orchard trees.

Early designs for the park were presented at a sociable Christmas event in the library with festive wreath and decoration making. The park design will include feature trees to give it a sense of place, re-using some of the planting from the temporary greening at Edinburgh Quay.

Thank you to A+DS for use of their boardroom to hold the event.

You can watch a short video clip from the talk.

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.