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Granton Waterfront, Edinburgh - City of Edinburgh Council with Collective Architecture

Who is the developer/client of the project?


The City of Edinburgh Council



Describe the context of this project and its contribution to the urban life and user experience of the place in 250 words max. and please upload an image of the project in its wider context or a drawing that best situates the project in its location.


Granton sits at the heart of Edinburgh’s Waterfront, three miles north of the city centre on the shores of the Firth of Forth. It is within the centre of a ‘necklace’ of coastal communities stretching from Cramond in the west to Granton Harbour to the east. It also connects surrounding communities of Pennywell, Muirhouse, Pilton, Trinity, and Newhaven.

The site comprises of around 200 hectares of open space and parkland and 50 hectares of contaminated, derelict industrial land with a gasometer and former station building at its heart. Over recent decades a series masterplan have stalled, and piecemeal development taken place. In parallel with this, surrounding communities have continued to experience multiple areas of depravation and socio-spatial inequalities.

As Edinburgh continues to grow and evolve, the need for inclusive, affordable and sustainable development for all has become ever more acute.

The proposals for Granton Waterfront build on the sites’ ecological and cultural significance. Approximately 3000 new, affordable homes of mixed size, typology, and tenure are knitted within the landscape and vacant sites. Existing infrastructure is enhanced with green-blue connections formed between new and existing communities. A new school, cultural facilities, commerce and parks are integrated and connected via human scaled streets and avenues. At the heart of the project lies the creation of a new 10-hectare, flood resilient, dynamic coastal park and connecting blue-green active travel routes which reconnect the waterfront to the City, the neighbourhood and existing communities.


Please describe your approach to this future place and its mix of uses. How will it function as a vibrant place? How does it knit into, and serve the needs of, the wider area? 250 words max. Please attach a detailed masterplan that shows the mix of uses and public spaces.


The client and design team worked with local residents, groups, schools, community councils and Partners (Edinburgh College, National Museums/Galleries of Scotland, Sustrans, Scottish Futures Trust) to develop a Vision, the Granton Principles, and the Strategic Development Framework. The process was underpinned by an engagement process that involved street workshops, stakeholder ‘surgeries’, public events and cross-party political group workshops. Over a year-long process, everyone collectively developed a phased plan for Granton founded on a robust but flexible framework, a series of interconnecting strategies (landscape, ecology, hydrology, energy, active travel etc) and a range of diverse, identifiable, and complementary character areas (linking new and existing communities). The plans are not only spatial as the framework is underpinned by parallel ongoing learning and cultural strategies, existing housing renewal programmes and wider active travel proposals. Together, these will form a human-scaled, mixed-use, urban neighbourhood which prioritises innovation, sustainable living and makes space for nature.

Proposed development works with the site’s sloped topography to provide a mix of building heights and forms. A clearly defined block structure sets out street frontages which have clear urban delineation between public and private areas with safe, pedestrian-centred streets which promote active travel.

Granton Waterfront aims to weave together the inherent complexities of place, socioeconomics, political context and most importantly people and how we live in an increasingly complex world. In doing so, it aims to guide the development of a place which becomes a vibrant and welcoming coastal community, attractive and accessible to all.


How will the carbon use/material impact of the development of this new place be mitigated? What is the sustainability strategy? 250 words max. Please attach an image or drawing of the project that supports your statement.


The Sustainability Strategy for Granton is a holistic, people centred one. It is based on seven ‘Granton Principles’, which combine the physical, spatial, social and cultural. They set out an approach that aims to do things differently to before. To learn from past mistakes and embed some key principles and behaviours throughout every stage and every phase of development (and beyond) for every person working, visiting, and living within Granton over time.

The principles aim to ensure that future development in the area positively faces the need for climate resilience by taking a holistic, low carbon approach to design, development, ecology, energy, and behaviour. These straightforward principles have been developed to be legible and flexible enough to allow for future uncertainty yet be robust enough to maintain an overall vision for the area.

The spatial development is rooted in connectivity/walkability (20 min. neighbourhoods), blue-green infrastructure/green roofs and a low carbon approach (‘massive-passive’ approach to energy and construction) with safe, active streets and shared parks/landscapes that enhance biodiversity, promote active travel (with proposed tram extension to Granton), and increase health and well-being opportunities for all. They all work towards Edinburgh meeting its target to be a Net Zero Carbon City by 2030.

Granton Waterfront takes a holistic approach towards Net Zero to consider a whole place approach to carbon reduction within development along with positive action towards promoting active lifestyles, enhanced public health and a focus on tackling inequality and providing fair work and opportunity.

What do you see as the greatest contribution of this project to the citizens of this future place and its surrounding areas? You may also attach an additional image or document to support your entry.


The development of Granton re-connects the residents of Granton and the wider city with its waterfront through the creation of its new Coastal Park and green-blue connections. It will enhance its ecological character as a Special Protected Area whilst providing an inclusive, mixed-use and affordable neighbourhood with enhanced connections and opportunities for new and existing residents.

The participatory process of development so far has empowered residents to be active agents in the development of their area. Their voice and ambition have been instrumental in shaping the vision, the Granton Principles and approach taken. This ongoing work and aspiration can be further supported by the developing policies at Scottish Government Level such as the forthcoming National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) with its commitment to community-led Local Place Plans and the affordable housing programme and the ‘Housing to 2040’ route map.

The project’s focus towards lifelong learning and cultural activity will enhance skills and work within the area. It will bring former industrial heritage buildings such as the Gasometer, Station Building and Madelvic Car Factory to life. This will also build on opportunities created by a new, proposed Collection Centre for National Galleries of Scotland and links/access for local schools and colleges.

Granton’s transformation holds the potential to reconnect the area and the City to the water, build on wider regeneration projects and transform Scotland’s capital into a unique coastal city.

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