Over the last month we delivered a 'public life hack' programme as part of our first ever Co-design Summer School. This series of temporary landscape interventions and community engagement events enlivened the Seafield promenade near Portobello, Edinburgh. Twelve participants took part in the month-long summer school - facilitated and delivered by the HERE+NOW team. Together their interventions revealed the potential of Seafield as a place for both public life, and as a walking and cycling route. Interventions were monitored and their impact on public life documented.
The Sea Field Project is an ongoing self-initiated project delivered on a voluntary basis by HERE+NOW. The project aims to re-imagine the opportunity and potential of Edinburgh’s waterfront for people and for nature. Inspiration came from the observation that the Seafield urban area faces onto the Firth of Forth and North Sea beyond, yet seems to turn its back on this beautiful landscape. While it provides a well used walking and cycling route between Portobello and Leith, people tend not to spend time here, and the wide promenade space is currently better known for the backs of car showrooms and the bus depot rather than an exciting vibrant place to spend time. We feel this stunning sea frontage and landscape has potential to become a city-wide destination, with improved dunescape and planting, and more opportunity for public life as a vibrant place to meet and spend time, walk or cycle.
As part of the summer school, the 12 participants were split into 3 teams. Each team used a co-design approach and process to develop their ideas and built interventions. This included a mix of community engagement, ideas testing with initial prototypes, user feedback, and monitoring and evaluation techniques to asses the impact on pedestrians and cyclists movement. This culminated in a final built intervention on 28 July as part of this design development. The three groups presented their findings and process to a panel of stakeholders, including representatives from Sustrans Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, SRUC and Art Walk Porty. Many thanks to these partners for their support.