Edinburgh Living Landscape launches

Read Scottish Wildlife Trust's press release on the launch of the new initiative.

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 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’, such as 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: “Planning Minister Derek Mackay 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.” 

 Chairman of the Edinburgh Living Landscape, Cllr Nick Gardner, said: “The Edinburgh Living Landscape will aim to unite the natural world and our urban spaces.

“The Edinburgh Living Landscape examines how nature and humanity need each other, how they can share the stone and steel realms in which we live, and how we can share those spaces for our mutual good.

“This project aims to offer both practical and imaginative solutions for urban dwellers to live and love the natal world by inspiring, even sometimes to provoke people of all ages and viewpoints to look afresh at the spaces around us, for our future.”

City of Edinburgh Council’s Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “We are very proud of the parks and greenspaces across the city, and Edinburgh Living Landscape will not only work to enhance their quality and biodiversity, but will encourage involvement from the people who live here. 

“The project is set to open up our environment to nature, attracting plant and wildlife to an urban setting and allowing the public to feel the benefits.

“I am delighted to see this initiative launch in our city, and look forward to watching it flourish in the coming years.”

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

Originally published by Scottish Wildlife Trust.

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