HERE+NOW WE ARE LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS + DESIGNERS WHO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY. WE CHAMPION INNOVATIVE AND GENUINE ENGAGEMENT AS PART OF A COMPLETE DESIGN PROCESS.
HERE+NOW has worked in partnership with Edinburgh Palette for over 5 years. We have led the development of their strategic use of outdoor space while based at St Margaretâ€™s House. Using co-design tools and delivering practical workshops, the team invited involvement in the design and management of the landscape by the local community and artists based there. In summer 2018, Edinburgh Palette took on a new site at Stanley Street, with the intention to develop and test new approaches in development of studio and workshop space for creative practitioners and local interest groups. The site will accommodate a range of studio spaces for artists, makers, and community groups.
STANLEY STREET A CREATIVE COMMUNITY HUB ON A BROWNFIELD SITE - INNOVATING ON BEST PRACTICE CONTAINER STUDIO DEVELOPMENT
The strategy is to use converted shipping containers and/or readymade cabins, as a demonstration of the possibilities in reclaimed space and renovated architectural structure. HERE+NOW has been volunteering with Edinburgh Palette over the summer of 2018 to enhance the garden areas of the site. Building on this involvement, we have been brought on as a permanent partner in developing the planning application, landscape strategy, and community outreach programme. Our role is to provide ongoing advice in the design and management of the landscape and public realm, preparing hoarding design graphics, inputting to the Design & Access Statement, and creative planning of materials procurement and landscape construction. We are working closely with the Akiko Kobayashi architect and Entuitive on structural and civil engineering, to make the Stanley Street project work safely, inclusively, and efficiently while allowing flexibility for emerging opportunities to find their place.
In Autumn/Winter 2018, HERE+NOW’s Jenny Elliott volunteered as part of the local community group in Duddingston, Edinburgh [Duddingston Village Conservation Society] to spearhead their pitch for funding and assistance from the Edinburgh Tool Library. The aim was to transform a derelict byre structure sat amongst the community owned land, adjacent to the community garden, into a useable outdoor space for community events, selling community garden produce, and potting up plants.
DUDDINGSTON BYRE TRANSFORMING A DERELICT BYRE STRUCTURE INTO A COMMUNITY GARDEN SHOP, POTTING SHED AND SOCIAL AREA
Having been successful at the pitch event, Jenny was involved in helping organise a ‘build weekend’ from the community side - including design work, graphics, and co-ordination with other local volunteers - working alongside and with the help of Edinburgh Tool Library staff and 30 volunteers to build a shed, decking and outdoor furniture for the space in just one weekend. You can view Up Here Media’s short film about the build weekend here. Jenny is organising a one day painting event to finalise the work in January 2019, using painted graphics on the decking, shed and benches constructed from reclaimed materials at the build weekend. This will give a visual unity to the space and further involve volunteers in the project. The finalised transformation of this rejuvenated outdoor community space will be launched at a community film night under the stars, organised by Jenny and other volunteers in Spring 2019.
Stemming from hands-on volunteering involvement in the Shoreline biodiversity enhancement work led by Edinburgh Botanic Gardens over the summer months of 2018, HERE+NOW’s Liz Thomas wanted to put in place a legacy for ongoing local activity in Edinburgh’s shoreline natural environment. The answer was to set up a children’s Wildlife Watch group through the Scottish Wildlife Trust, offering weekly community sessions based at Meadows Yard Local Nature Reserve. Liz volunteers as a SWT group leader, with HERE+NOW contributing time to the administration, activity preparation, advertising and graphic communication in the background. The aspiration is to become a fully self-sustaining group by early 2019, with local parents creating a team of leaders and helpers.
SHORELINE WILDLIFE WATCH A WEEKLY WILDLIFE WATCH GROUP ENGAGING CHILDREN IN THEIR NATURAL LOCAL ENVIRONMENT
The group is now 18-strong, and continues to grow as more children and parents hear about the exciting activities which engage children in their natural local environment. Affectionately known as ‘Snacks In The Woods’, the group of children aged between 0-6 years explore, learn, make, and build to develop their sense of connection and respect for urban wildlife and outdoor places.
In Summer 2018, HERE+NOW’s Liz Thomas volunteered with a group of locals on the Edinburgh Botanic Garden’s Shoreline Project. In the Portobello area, this season-long exhibition manifest as practical on-the-ground biodiversity enhancement projects. The basis for the group’s planting work stemmed from an inspirational walkabout of the shoreline area led by the Botanics’ urban biodiversity officer. She pointed out species of local significance, plants of interest, and indicated how we could make the biggest impact using planting to support and enhance the area’s local biodiversity.
SHORELINE BIODIVERSITY ENHANCEMENT COMMUNITY EDUCATION, INSPIRATION AND ACTION IN LOCAL BIODIVERSITY AT THE SEAFIELD / PORTOBELLO SHORELINE
In September the group plug planted wildflower species in a grassland area adjacent to the Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home, and painted stones to mark the special species which had been selected. The plants came from the Shoreline Wildflower Plant Nursery, which is based at Granton Hub, a project HERE+NOW has been involved in through 2017 (See project details in Year 3 report). Local wildflower seed was collected by volunteers and grown on in pots, as part of a citizen science project to create a ‘bank’ of plants suitable for planting out in spaces such as this for the enhancement of the biodiversity value. Going forward, the group have plans for planting a mixed, native biodiverse hedge along the fenceline in this same location, and building sand mounds to create habitat for a locally significant burrowing bee species in spring 2019. The formation of the children’s Wildlife Watch group (p7) was the result of local parents wanting to put in place a legacy for the inspiration and local action in this Shoreline area.
In 2018 Architecture & Design Scotland launched a publication featuring a series of case studies illustrating how the Place Standard has interpreted and used by different practitioners. The document highlights the methods used, and perceptions and knowledge gained, including how this fed into community planning, design and/or development work. In 2017, HERE+NOW had partnered with Leith Creative as part of the ‘People and Places: Make Leith Better’ project. This programme of community consultation included online and face-to-face surveying, creative public engagement activities, and round table conversations. This included creative mapping, which identified creative hubs in Leith and North Edinburgh, such as St Margaret’s House. This is where HERE+NOW hosted their interactive exhibition and was the base point for their mobile ‘Place Standard’ wheel tour.
PLACE STANDARD HERE+NOW’S APPLICATION OF THE PLACE STANDARD FEATURED AS A CASE STUDY EXEMPLAR BY ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN SCOTLAND
As part of the project, HERE+NOW offered an open invitation for people to join them and their giant mobile ‘Place Standard’ wheel on tour around Leith. Literally rolling through the streets and pausing at strategic locations along the way. The spinning wheel offered a live invitation of input using chalk from passers-by to slowly build up a visual picture of what people think about Leith, according to 14 themes. These include themes such as ‘identity and belonging’, ‘feeling safe’, and ‘streets and spaces’. Together these start to build a visual picture, similar to a spider-diagram, about how both ‘Leithers’ and non-Leithers feel about Leith as a place. We found our mobile, spinnable iteration of the original Place Standard wheel (developed by the Scottish Government), a particularly effective tool for engaging people in conversation about their local places, and are pleased this has been featured by A&DS as a case study.
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE URBAN DESIGN COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT CO-DESIGN WORKSHOPS