Supporting Social Impact: Our Edinburgh Neighbourhood
When it comes to community planning, including local residents to steer development is key. Working together with local communities to support positive social impact is central to Community Plan Commitment 7, and The Our Edinburgh Neighbourhood project was an excellent example of this.
With sights set on improving community consultations, ‘Our Edinburgh Neighbourhood’ was a project that explored engagement in the planning process and engaged 1,200 people. This initiative was part of a larger four nations project called Community Consultation and Quality of Life (CCQoL). It included project partners from Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council, The City of Edinburgh Council, The Scottish Government, and the University of Edinburgh.
As a part of the Our Edinburgh Neighbourhood project, the team ran an ‘Urban Room’ at Waverley Market from 14 June – 8 July 2022. The Urban Room was a physical space for communities to meet, collaborate, engage, plan and create. Local community organisations, groups and individuals were invited to attend and deliver workshops, partake in consultations and get connected to resources in the Edinburgh region.
The Urban Room served as a hub to work closely with community organisations to deliver workshops, events and consultations. Sessions were also delivered out in the local community, enabling a number of touchpoints to engage local residences. A core aim was to identify new ways in which local residents can participate in community planning. Of the 17 community-led sessions at the Urban Room, highlights included meditation taster sessions, a religions and beliefs roadshow, women’s safety activities, a compelling story telling workshop, interactive exercises on values sharing and shared assets, and a writing workshop.
Future Edinburgh hosted a range of discussions about the future of Edinburgh’s ‘20-minute neighbourhoods’, the concept where everyone can meet most of their daily needs within a short walk, wheel or cycle from their home. Participants were invited to share what matters most to them within their neighbourhoods by contributing to an engagement mapping tool. More than 500 digital pins were left by participants. Common themes included access to green spaces, thriving local businesses, affordable housing and sustainable food retailers.
Through project partners, colleagues and University of Edinburgh student ambassadors, the Our Edinburgh Neighbourhood project successfully received 804 contributions during the project period. Current thinking in policy trends within community planning was explored in depth, enabling community groups and organisations to co-create, network and engage in dialogue about local communities. The project team is now preparing a stakeholder report to be followed by a national policy and engagement overview.
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Community Plan: Learn more about our Community Plan 2020 - 2025.