Reproduced from Ordnance Survey digital map data  © Crown copyright, All rights reserved. 2010 Licence number 0100031673

Reproduced from Ordnance Survey digital map data © Crown copyright, All rights reserved. 2010 Licence number 0100031673

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Temporary greenspace: Implementation of pilot project

Edinburgh, Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT)

OPEN was involved in the delivery of a project to address the challenges and unlock the potential of vacant and derelict land, culminating in the implementation of temporary greenspace on a pilot site in Craigmillar.

OPEN worked with the Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT) to deliver temporary green space proposals tackling the issue of vacant and derelict land in Edinburgh. The ‘meanwhile’ use of vacant and derelict land can have significant longer term environmental benefits, and can help build communities, have a beneficial impact on climate change, and provide space for biodiversity. The project has been inspired and funded by the Central Scotland Green Network, which lists the improvement of vacant and derelict land as one of its key priorities.

Following the development of a feasibility study into Vacant & Derelict land improvement in Edinburgh (commissioned by ELGT and carried out by OPEN), pilot sites were identified where temporary greening interventions could be carried out to help improve the visual appearance and ecological value of derelict sites. A steering group for Craigmillar was created, consisting of the Council’s Housing, Environment and Regeneration teams, Development Company PARC, the Community Alliance Trust and Oxfam.

As a pilot project, the purpose was to identify challenges to temporary improvements to sites, address how these can be overcome, and create a knowledge base for repeating the exercise elsewhere.

Consultation was carried out in the local area, and established a local community need for an open space that could be used for community events and activities, but was also easy to maintain. OPEN developed proposals that ELGT have implemented, including grassed open space and wildflower areas, planting of native tree species, and the creation of paths to encourage safe routes to the school campus. One of the challenges was the lack of topsoil. 1000 tonnes were imported onto the site, to support the proposed planting. When the site comes back into development, it is envisaged that the topsoil can be either used on site or re-used elsewhere.

Initial investment for the project came from the Central Scotland Green Network Development Fund, with additional funding from the City of Edinburgh Council and Oxfam’s Unwrapped fund, via the Community Alliance Trust. The maintenance will be funded by PARC and carried out by the Council.

The project won the Strategic Landscape Planning category at the Landscape Institute Awards 2012 in recognition of the innovative approach developed in addressing the issues of vacant and derelict land.