Open Space 2021 - Edinburgh’s Draft Open Space Strategy

Closed 21 Oct 2016

Opened 29 Aug 2016

Feedback updated 23 Feb 2017

We asked

To inform the draft Open Space Strategy, the Council held a stakeholder workshop in May 2016 involving groups and organisations from across the city with an interest in open space.

Participants were asked to consider:

  • the different uses that greenspaces should provide, from small local spaces to large neighbourhood parks;
  • how greenspace could encourage people of all ages to keep active; and
  • the quality of greenspace in a sample of new developments.

Members of the public were then invited to have their say on the draft Strategy, including the ideas from the workshop, through an online survey.

The survey was shared via social media, Edinburgh Civic Forum, Neighbourhood Partnerships, Edinburgh City Libraries, park notice boards, Friends of Parks, Edinburgh Leisure, cafes and schools.

You said

  • Overall, 86% of respondents thought the draft Strategy would improve Edinburgh’s greenspaces over the next 5 years.
  • There was general recognition of the value of Edinburgh’s open spaces towards health, biodiversity, wellbeing and the enjoyment of residents and visitors.
  • Clear support was expressed for ongoing management of the city’s parks according to the Green Flag Award criteria and for newly built parks to attain comparable standards as the city grows.
  • 64% of respondents thought play area quality had improved and 97% wished to see streets and greenspaces designed to encourage more informal children’s play.
  • 83% of respondents agreed the city’s green network had improved but that more could be done to connect greenspaces by foot, bike and to link wildlife habitats.
  • 94% of respondents agreed that communities should be able to improve local greenspaces to create meeting places, keep active and grow food.
  • 85% of respondents agreed that cemeteries should be improved to conserve local history and provide more attractive greenspace for residents and visitors.
  • 84% of respondents supported the long-term aspiration to create a series of multi-pitch sports venues.

We did

Based on the broad support received for the Strategy’s principles, the final Strategy was approved at Planning Committee in December 2016 and can now be used to guide greenspace management and planning decisions.

Open Space 2021 puts renewed emphasis on the benefits of open space and the Strategy clarifies how open space is protected by Planning policy and legal constraints.

New targets were set in order to improve access to quality greenspaces and play areas over the next 5 years.

An update to the Edinburgh Design Guidance will explain how new greenspaces should meet the Strategy’s standards, based on comments from the stakeholder workshop.

In addition to continuing to raise the quality of public parks, the Strategy supports the creation of further community gardens, expansion of the Edinburgh Living Landscape initiative and improvements to cemeteries and burial grounds.

The basis of four Open Space Action Plans plans, aligned with Edinburgh’s Localities, has been agreed to support delivery of the Strategy.

The Open Space Strategy will be linked to a new Physical Activity and Sport Strategy.


The Council is updating Edinburgh’s Open Space Strategy, which was first published in 2010.

The new draft Strategy will last for 5 years and is called Open Space 2021.

The draft Strategy explains how the Council protects and cares for existing green spaces.

It also sets out where new open space should be provided as the city grows.

Why your views matter

Well managed and connected green spaces are important for health and wellbeing, urban wildlife and supporting investment in the economy.

A workshop involving local groups and national organisations with an interest in green space and recreation helped shape the draft Strategy.

The Council is now seeking your views on the suggested way forward for different types of green space across the city, including:

  • Parks;
  • Play Areas;
  • Residential green space;
  • Allotments and Community Gardens;
  • Cemeteries and Burial Grounds;
  • Playing Fields; and
  • The Green Network.


Responses to this survey will help to inform the final version of the Strategy.

Before taking part in the survey you can read this quick guide to Open Space 2021.


What happens next

After the consultation period, feedback from the survey will be used to inform the final version of the Strategy.

The finalised version will be reported to Committee and if approved, will be used to inform decisions on the management of existing green spaces and planning proposals.


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