April 1, 2015 - March 1, 2016

Craigmillar Town Centre Temporary Greening

City of Edinburgh
Greenspace for Learning & Play, Urban Greening, Vacant & Derelict Land
CSGN Development Fund
Lead Partners:
Edinburgh and Lothian Greenspace Trust
EDI Group, City of Edinburgh Council


Craigmillar Town Centre Temporary Greening project transformed a vacant development site in Craigmillar which is reserved for a new high school, not scheduled to be built until 2020, into a temporary greenspace. The site is at the centre of the wider Craigmillar regeneration area, adjacent to the newly-built Community Hub and neighbouring plots at varying stages of development.

Project background

Craigmillar Town Centre Temporary Greening forms part of a wider plan for the redevelopment of Craigmillar Town Centre. The masterplan, which was approved in December 2014, includes 330 homes, a retail centre, restaurant, community play area and high school – where the temporary greenspace will be situated until building commences. Also taking place within this site, although separate to the project, is a Community Construction Challenge project, spearheaded by the local authority, which provides young people with the opportunity to gain practical experience of construction and work skills to help them achieve a positive destination after leaving school.

How the project was delivered

The design element of the project was carried out by landscape architects Harrison Stevens in conjunction with Edinburgh Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT) and EDI Group. Community engagement – as well as paths, tree planting and other associated works – were overseen by ELGT.

The project has 5 key elements:

1. Creation of new paths and the upgrading of existing ones, providing key
active travel routes through the site.

2. A formally laid-out civic area comprised of extra-heavy standard trees, to
be planted in planters and which anticipates the future design and layout of
the civic square. This will be accompanied by an adjacent area of
containerised fruit trees to create a community orchard.

3. A new area of permanent woodland alongside a section of path.

4. An area of temporary woodland on an area to be developed in the future
which allows for community engagement and involvement.

5. Meadow flower planting at key locations on the rest of the site,
principally alongside the paths, which will provide an attractive setting and
which lend themselves to low maintenance whilst maintaining a sense of
purposes, helping eliminate the sense of the area being neglected. The
wildflower areas would help tie together the other aspects of the site, bringing it all together as a whole.

Key facts and figures

  • Creation of 1,200m2 of permanent woodland.
  • Creation of 3,250m2 temporary, fast growing woodland/coppicing for landscaping and community use providing a range of opportunities.
  • Creation of 268m of new footpath, creating new active travel routes.
  • Enhancement of 80m existing footpath.
  • A seating area adjacent to the ‘town square’ and temporary orchard, and also seating within the wildflower meadow planting area.
  • Grassland improvements - wildflower meadow planting over 9,840m2 on what is currently self-seeded grass on future development plots where the previous buildings were demolished.
  • Temporary creation of the 1,067m2 ‘town square’ including 11 tree standards in planters and the creation of a temporary orchard with 20 orchard trees over 600m2 in planters – both areas providing a more formalised urban realm setting.

Project outcomes

  • Permanent paths forming a core active travel route through the site in line with the masterplan for the regeneration of the area.
  • An area of permanent woodland which will have had time to establish and mature in advance of the general area being fully inhabited. This woodland is in a Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) Woodlands in and Around Towns (WIAT) priority area, and helps open up the space for community use. The woodland has been protected with a fence to allow for successful establishment. This fence will be removed when the woodland has successfully established, allowing for greater public access to use this resource.
  • The successful establishment of a temporary ‘town square’ with associated trees and landscaping. This civic area is a key component of the regeneration area, with the trees in the planters being ultimately used as part of the design for the new civic area.
  • An orchard area that will ultimately be used for planting out in the surrounding properties and greenspaces when the development of the school in undertaken.

CSGN Support and Learning

This project provides an example of how vacant land, in an urban setting, can be transformed to provide greenspace that acts as a focal point for the community as well as an important active travel route.

Future development of project

Craigmillar Town Centre will continue to be redeveloped, with a new retail centre, public square, community play park, high school and further housing due to be completed over the next six years.

Funding Details:

Year Fund Value
2015 CSGN Development Fund 36,220