News: Groundbreaking Edinburgh Living Landscape launched

4th November 2014

An initiative that aims to make Edinburgh the best city in Europe to live in by 2050 has launched today with an event attended by Minister for Local Government and Planning, Derek Mackay MSP.

The Edinburgh Living Landscape is a partnership project between the Scottish Wildlife Trust, City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust, GREENSURGE and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to bring a transformational change to the city’s urban environment.

It becomes the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s third Living Landscape, joining the urban Cumbernauld Living Landscape and the rural Coigach - Assynt Living Landscape in north west Scotland.

It hopes to create a city fit for the future with healthy and beautiful areas that are resilient to climate change as well as being highly valued and accessible to Edinburgh’s citizens.

Edinburgh is known for its fantastic parks, gardens and active travel networks but the Edinburgh Living Landscape wants to take this a step further. Partners in the initiative want to ensure high-quality, nature-rich and connected places exist across the city. Simple measures will be promoted - such as the use of window boxes, increasing the number of wildflower meadows and planting more street trees - but more innovative urban design such as green roofs and walls will also be considered.

This will mean more biodiversity and better ‘natural services’ - including cleaner water, increased pollination, improved footpaths and cycle paths - to benefit the city’s residents. Children will also be beneficiaries of the initiative, with areas to play, explore and learn increasing around Edinburgh.

One of the exciting initiatives already being undertaken for the Edinburgh Living Landscape is the Urban Pollinator Project - a collaboration between Edinburgh Council and the University of Edinburgh. By converting patches of grassland to wildflower meadows, the project aims to boost numbers of bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects within the city. This will benefit local beekeepers, food growers and gardeners while increasing the beauty of Edinburgh’s many parks.

Future projects also include: the creation of a bespoke Edinburgh wildflower meadow seed mix, improvements in access to high-quality green space for residents, and also working with developers to transform derelict land around the city for the benefit of local communities.

Minister for Local Government and Planning, Derek Mackay MSP, said: “I am delighted to launch the Edinburgh Living Landscape, which is a prime example of a partnership project that aims to enhance the local environment and create high quality spaces for the benefit of city residents.

“Creating great places for people is of course a key aim of the new National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy – indeed, the SPP states that planning should protect, enhance and promote green infrastructure, including open space and green networks, as an integral component of successful placemaking.

“Green networks can help create attractive, sustainable cities, towns and neighbourhoods where people want to live and bring up their children, and it is for this reason that I commend the vision that has been put forward by Edinburgh Living Landscape.  

“Their ambition to make Edinburgh the best city to live by 2050 is testament to the determination of all involved to enhance the capital’s urban environment for the benefit of future generations.”

Programme Director for the Edinburgh Living Landscape and Head of Policy for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Dr Maggie Keegan, said: “The Edinburgh Living Landscape is a new way of thinking about how we manage land in a multifunctional way to do more for wildlife and habitats, people and the economy.

“The Edinburgh Living Landscape’s portfolio of projects will create, restore and connect green areas of the city and influence the design of green buildings and infrastructure.

“The Scottish Wildlife Trust hopes this project will demonstrate how cities of the future can be planned and managed with wildlife in mind for the benefit of the people who live in them.”

Click here to read more about the Edinburgh Living Landscape’s portfolio of projects, or click here for an executive summary.

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