News Pocket Places

Dundee community at heart of neighbourhood transformation

A community-led design project to transform a busy area of Dundee into a more valuable and attractive space to travel through and spend time in is now complete.

The new benches and gardens that have been installed on Craigie Street in Dundee are shown, alongside a large floor mural.
The permanent pocket park on Craigie Street. Image: Sustrans Scotland

The Stobswell Forum community group has worked in partnership with Sustrans Scotland, Dundee City Council and Scottish Water to design and install permanent enhancements on five routes off Albert Street.

The team effort means there is now better signage and wayfinding links to benefit those living, working and travelling through the district.  

Area brought to life  

Residents and visitors can now enjoy an incredible mural of artist and suffragette Ethel Moorhead by Alloa artist Michael Corr on Langlands Street.

Painted paving, a new bench made from climate-friendly materials and cycle parking have also been installed on the busy route.  

Craigie Street has been transformed through the installation of a permanent pocket park which features rain gardens and new street furniture including a tree planter and a mural by the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research at the University of Dundee.

Rain gardens have also been installed on both Balmore Street and Arthurstone Terrace.

A large mural depicting aritst and suffragette Ethel Moorhead is shown at the entrance to Langlands Street. An adult and child are shown walking down the street in the background of the shot.
A mural of artist and suffragette Ethel Moorhead by Alloa artist Michael Corr has been installed on Langlands Street.

Increased accessibility 

Accessibility for those using the informal crossings on these streets as well as Park Avenue has been improved by the installation of tactile surfaces. 

Craigie Street has been resurfaced, with dropped kerbs installed to increase accessibility.

One person is showing crossing the street at the entrance to Balmore Street. Newly installed gardens are shown in the foreground.
Accessibility for those using Balmore Street is improved by the installation of tactile surfaces.

Putting people at the heart of decisions on local spaces 

Robin Burns, Project Lead, Co-Design, for Sustrans Scotland, said: 

“We are very pleased to see work complete on this exciting project delivered in partnership with the local community, Stobswell Forum, Dundee City Council and Scottish Water.  

“The changes brought about by the local community will enable residents and visitors to the area to travel actively while accessing key services and calm, green and vibrant spaces.

“Seeing these changes happen highlights the value of putting people at the heart of decisions on their local spaces.

“We hope Michael Corr’s mural of Ethel Moorhead will encourage more visitors to Stobswell and that the installations make it safer and easier for more people to walk, wheel and cycle through this dynamic part of the city.” 

A person is shown walking past a newly installed bench at the opposite end of Langlands Street, walking towards the mural.
Langlands Street has been upgraded with painted paving, a new bench made from climate-friendly materials and cycle parking.

Mark Flynn, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: 

“We have always been keen to ensure that communities across the city are strong and make their own unique contribution to creating a greener city.

“Projects such as this one demonstrate that people in Stobswell feel empowered, safe and proud to live there.” 

Stobswell Forum Chair, Colin Clement, said:  

“The Stobswell Forum see positive physical change to the lived environment as one of the keys to delivering increased wellbeing across the neighbourhood and the Albert Street shopping centre is central to that. 

“Local residents have proven that they want change and the Stobswell Forum working along with our partners are determined to deliver that change for the community.” 

16 people involved in the project are shown standing on the large floor mural on Craigie Street.
Project partners pictured at Craigie Street pocket park in Stobswell, Dundee.
Engineering team National Cycle Network News Pocket Places

Perth residents celebrate community-developed revamp of Craigie Place

Residents, school pupils and artists who worked to redevelop Craigie Place in Perth have celebrated following the completion of installations designed to make the area a better place to walk, wheel, cycle and live.

Craigie Place pictured from above. Artwork by Bigg Design and Fun Makes Good

The square where Craigie Place meets Glenearn Road and Windsor Terrace, on National Cycle Network Route 775, has been resurfaced and a designated cycle path installed. Also among the improvements are the installation of benches, cycle parking and raised beds for planting. 

Artists Eleanor Young from Fun Makes Good and Hamish Bigg from Bigg Design designed wayfinding artwork and floor murals, highlighting places of local interest as well as those further along NCN775 such as Loch Leven, and, more locally, Perth’s South Inch park and Craigie Burn. 

The improvements, developed by Sustrans Scotland and Perth and Kinross Council together with the community, Inch View Primary School and St Mary Magdalene’s Church through online consultations and surveys, were designed to address local concerns about unsafe and illegal parking in the square, as well as difficulty finding NCN775. 

Artwork by Bigg Design and Fun Makes Good

Paul Ruffles, Principal Urban Designer, Sustrans, said: 

“This is a wonderful small project delivered in partnership with the local community, Perth and Kinross Council and local artists. The work has transformed the space from a redundant space used for car parking into a calm, green and vibrant space for people of all ages and abilities. It’s a real pleasure to see these changes happen and highlights the value of putting people at the heart of decisions on their local spaces.” 

Installations at Craigie Place, Perth. Image: Janie Meikle Bland

Christopher Lennox, Technician, Road Safety, Traffic and Network, Perth & Kinross Council, said: 

“My involvement in the scheme was to investigate, partially design and organise the hard landscaping works on behalf of Sustrans. This included helping with the construction strategy and traffic management plan. The pocket places programme has revitalised the small space creating a focal point in the community, having improved travel networks benefitting both pedestrians and cyclists.”

Members of the Sustrans team with artists Eleanor Young and Hamish Bigg at the launch. Image: Janie Meikle Bland

Artists Eleanor Young and Hamish Bigg said:  

Bigg Design and Fun Makes Good have been delighted to work with Sustrans and Perth and Kinross Council to transform this once derelict space. We were amazed at the support and responses we received from Inch View Primary School and the local community. It’s been particularly enjoyable getting hands-on installing the artwork and meeting residents as they’ve come to chat to us and see the project evolve – everyone has been so friendly and enthusiastic about the new space! 

“Located on the National Cycle Network, the sculpture draws on the aesthetics of road signage and ground markings, reinventing them to create a colourful and engaging public space. A circle of posts support double-sided artworks symbolising local landmarks and places of interest, whilst a hand-painted ground mural acts as a ‘compass’ to point visitors in their direction.  

“Combined with Sustrans’ landscape design, we hope the new space creates an oasis of art and planting in the urban environment – a place to meet, rest and play, that invites exploration of the local area.”

Artwork by Bigg Design and Fun Makes Good
Craigie Place before the installations.

Sustrans Scotland’s Pocket Places programme is an opportunity for local communities to shape their neighbourhood and take a lead in making their local area a better place to live. Pocket Places is funded by the Scottish Government through Transport Scotland and delivered by Sustrans Scotland.


Enabling independent travel for young people

Research from Sustrans and A Place In Childhood places the spotlight on the importance of designing the built environment for and with young people.

The publication details the needs of young people when walking, wheeling or cycling and showcases effective approaches to incorporating their perspectives in projects. In doing so it addresses a portion of society which has historically been neglected in urban planning and transport provision.

Two teenagers speaking next to their bicycles.

The importance of independent mobility

In this report, children and young people’s ‘independent mobility’ refers to the freedom that people aged 11 – 16 have to roam public space and reach key destinations without the accompaniment of an adult.

We know this has been declining across the UK for at least the last 50 years, and the consequences for young people’s quality of life are well documented.

However, we still have some way to go towards building a picture of what youth-friendly infrastructure looks like, and understanding the key ingredients for bringing this about.

“Developing independence is an important part of growing up, and yet without opportunities for active travel young people are often dependent on parents or carers getting them from A to B by car.

“This participatory research project shows that young people are very good at showing us what could be better in the places they live, but all too often their views are assumed or ignored.

“While most research on this topic has so far focused on travel to school, this work covers any and all the places young people in our case studies wanted to access.

“The results set a framework for how we can make positive interventions in infrastructure to get more young people walking, wheeling and cycling.”

Study author, Dr Jenny Wood

What did the research set out to explore?

  • What do young people and their parents/carers need from active travel infrastructure to be healthy, happy and safe when travelling independently on their everyday journeys?
  • Current issues: What are the things which deter young people from travelling independently and parents/carers from allowing it?
  • Priority areas for action: What changes would have the biggest positive impact on young people’s confidence and motivation to walk, wheel and cycle?
  • How would new and improved active travel infrastructure change the travel experience?

What did we do? The research approach

The research took a ‘participatory’ approach, meaning it placed young people and parents/carers’ lived experiences at the heart of answering the above questions.

The researchers worked with groups of ‘young consultants’ and parents/carers in four Scottish communities which spanned different socioeconomic and rural-urban scales. Each community worked to co-produce ‘active travel maps’ of their areas which display and describe the experiences of living in each place.

The results from each location are brought together with evidence from published research to highlight the key changes to the built environment and social factors which would encourage independent active travel.

Northfield and Mastrick Active Travel Map. The base map contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

What did we find?

The findings emphasise that young people’s travel is about far more than simply getting from A to B. Getting out and about depends on the quality and availability of motivating and accessible destinations. For independent active travel these need to be connected by safe and enjoyable routes.

Equally important are the broader cultural factors. These include:

  • Tackling antisocial behaviour in communities
  • Building an inclusive cycling culture
  • Ensuring adequate internet and mobile technology coverage in public space
  • Encouraging families to become more familiar with active travel opportunities with their children

The report also showcases the detailed place-specific outputs from working with young people and parents/carers in this participatory way at a local level. Differences in terms of urban/rural differentiation, socioeconomic status of area, age and gender are explored alongside the overall picture for the UK and Scotland.

Want to find out more?

Read the full report here: Enabling Independent Travel for Young Scots: Age-appropriate Active Travel Infrastructure for 11-16 year olds.


Further reading: