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Active Streets, Edinburgh - Parsons Green Parent Council with New Practice, Sustrans, Transport for Scotland and City of Edinburgh Council

Local community members including primary and secondary school children had their say on making sustainable everyday journeys through digital and physical means including print-at-home and postal activity kits, online surveys, YouTube live streaming and Minecraft.

Who is the developer/client of the project?

Parsons Green Parent Council with support from Sustrans, Transport for Scotland and City of Edinburgh Council



Describe the context of this project in 250 words max. and please upload any image, drawings or reports that explain the initiative.


The neighbourhoods surrounding Portobello High School in Edinburgh, have huge potential for more participation in active travel.
Active Streets was a chance for New Practice to speak to Primary and Secondary school children across the area about how we can all become more active in our communities. We invited local community members of all ages to have their say on the challenges and opportunities for making more sustainable everyday journeys.

The project was developed initially to include a variety of in-person engagement activities - in schools and at community events across the project area. As the risks due to Covid-19 increased across the early months of 2020, Active Streets was re-imagined as an innovative and comprehensive collection of remote engagement activities, adapting to the challenges of lockdown.

We threw ourselves headlong into researching and testing new technologies. Taking inspiration from well-established online communities, including YouTube streamers and gamers. These communities have developed sophisticated approaches to fostering connection and conversation through digital devices. Rather than attempt to reinvent the wheel, we embedded these well-tested approaches in our tools.

Importantly, we worked with illustrator Jason Kerley to develop a tactile, hands-on and bold project identity. To help communicate the purpose and value of the project to a youth audience, a range of characters were developed to help explain what active travel is, and the forms that future ideas might take.


How does this project enable the community to make a meaningful contribution to a place? 250 words max. Please attach an image or other documentation of the project, or context, that supports your statement.


A greater spotlight has been shone on the value and limitations of digital engagement during the Covid-19 pandemic. With opportunities to meet in person limited, digital spaces have become the focal point for conversations on transforming places.
In every project we undertake we ensure that people across diverse and under-represented communities can take part and shape key outcomes that will impact their lives. We understand that people of different backgrounds and abilities will participate in different ways, and that our approaches must be carefully tailored to ensure that diverse voices are amplified.

Digital Engagement brings this focus on accessibility into even sharper relief - the barriers to accessing and participating in the digital engagement process can be significant to many people. For Active Streets, New Practice developed a suite of engagement methods across digital and physical media as a way to mitigate these challenges. Tools were designed so that participants might be able to respond if they only had 5 minutes available, or if they were interested in taking much longer to develop a creative response.

These ranged from print-at-home and postal activity kits for young people, with simple questions and fun activities to gain insight into their perceptions of their school commutes, to online surveys, and even the recreation of the project area in the hugely popular video game, Minecraft, allowing participants’ imaginations to run wild and creatively reimagine their environment.

Find out more at


How will the community engagement be taken forward? Have you actively responded to their contribution and continued the conversation, facilitating their continued involvement? 250 words max. Please attach an image of the project that supports your statement.


Active Streets is at the outset of a much longer project funded by Sustrans and Transport Scotland’s ‘Places for Everyone’ funding stream. This will see ideas developed in this project stage translated into physical interventions across the Portobello area making opportunities for active travel as part of peoples’ everyday journeys safer, more attractive and easier to access.
The ‘Places for Everyone’ funding programme supports local community groups develop active travel solutions from inception through to installation and evaluation. Our work to date has focussed on establishing the local perceptions of active travel in the area, understanding the key challenges and opportunities of existing infrastructure, and introducing a range of potential improvements and interventions designed to allow everyone to better access active travel opportunities.
As an architecture practice with a focus on placeshaping, we have made sure to embed within these proposed projects a desire expressed by local people for art and creativity to be embedded in their public space - making use of colour and pattern to enliven peoples’ everyday journeys, and create vibrant places that mark the entrance to schools.



Please share any reports, news clippings, data or figures that support your entry, for example reach, news clippings, reports. You may also attach an additional image or document to support your entry.



Please find below the file upload for the Active Streets report.

In addition, below are links to further media examples which demonstrate reach, impact and best practice approach;

Active Streets - YouTube Live; Virtual School Run No. 1

Porty Podcast, episode 172 - Active Streets

Design Council - Digital Community Engagement Event

(time stamp; 44mins)

Shortlisted for Community Engagement - The Pineapples Awards 2021



  • 12-16 JULY, 2021
  • Online event
  • Airmeet


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