City Garden is a project currently in development by HERE+NOW.  It would aim to match landowners with spare or underused pieces of urban land - no matter how small, from a street corner to a vacant plot - with local people who would like a space to grow.  


By matching these two different groups together, the project would result in a 'greener' city, with environmental benefits (increased habitat, biodiversity, climate change resilience, stormwater management) as well as benefits to both landowners (reduced maintenance budgets, more productive social and environmental good from their land), and growers (easy access to a place to grow, support getting started, social connection via growing groups, empowerment to improve their neighbourhood places).

The City Garden project would do this via a website with online spatial mapping tool to match up available urban land with those who want to grow, as well a part-time staff post to develop relationships with large landowners, and support growers getting started. The HERE+NOW team are currently looking for feedback and possible support in terms of advice, collaboration and/or funding from potential partners as we develop the City Garden project further. Interested in helping us develop this? Please get in touch

Many people just name their local park when they think of their city's local greenspace. What if we thought beyond the park and made the city our garden? There are a wealth of underused spaces across Edinburgh. From smaller awkward scraps of land along road carriageways or between buildings, to larger vacant sites and everything in between.  These spaces are often overlooked in their potential for greenspace due to their small size or unconventional location. The City Garden project would aim to remove the barriers to transforming these spaces into more productive use as greenspace to benefit biodiversity, climate change resilience and community. By creating a project at the city-wide scale but by localising its implementation, we can create change and reveal the potential for more greenspace in the city.

The City Garden project would help overcome barriers such as uncertain land ownership and lack of knowledge by people of the ways to navigate permissions to improve these small green spaces themselves. Acting as a bridge between some of the larger land owners in Edinburgh and local people self-identifying the spaces they want to turn into wildlife habitat, community gardens, or other improved greenspaces.  The City Garden project would act as a facilitator to support this process, with an online spatial mapping tool and part-time post integral in doing this.

The City Garden website mapping tool, and part-time staff post would:

  • Act as a single point of contact between landowners or community groups to help secure permissions for all kinds of land - whether it be a street corner or nook of unused city space.  
  • Provide advice, support, and landscape design and planting expertise to help kickstart project and lend a helping hand through the process.
  • A website with resources and a spatial mapping tool to connect landowners with growers across the city, and spatially locate where there is available land with a supportive landowner.
  • A toolkit and practical how-to guide to help answer common queries and provide useful resources and information.   

An attitude change is needed as to which spaces can bring green space value, recognising that even the smallest of urban spaces can form part of an integrated network of many different types of greenspace across the city.  

The City Garden project could be piloted across Edinburgh as a first step, with the potential for its successful application across other cities and places in Scotland and beyond. Using both larger scale vacant, unused, and derelict land as well as very small scale and localised in-between spaces, the project would reveal the potential of these unconventional spaces for improved greenspace uses - encouraging planting by local people to enhance the built environment aesthetic, promote biodiversity and climate change resilience, whilst fostering local social connections.  

The City Garden project has been inspired by 3000 Acres in Melbourne. A similar project which one of the HERE+NOW Directors - Jenny Elliott - was involved in prior to moving back to Scotland in 2014.


Interested in finding out more, partnering with us or supporting this project with funding? Get in touch.  


Take a look at other examples of our work and projects.