‘It’s helped our guys realise that they have a voice, and by using it they are able to bring change to the area where they live – their opinions matter, and by seeing their ideas come to fruition, it helps to prove to them that their opinions matter’
Across 2016, we have been working with a range of partners on a town centre placemaking project designed and led by young people. This is part of our national partnership work with Youth Scotland.
The Dunfermline project used our community placemaking tools along with the Place Standard and the Town Centre Toolkit and a range of youth engagement and youth work techniques and approaches. Our partners in Dunfermline were Youth First and two local youth projects – Fairway Fife and Headroom. The process was led by two immensely capable young facilitators from Youth Scotland’s ‘Young People Take the Lead’ project – Ahmed Mumin and Edward Fitzpatrick.
The project group evaluated local place quality and discussed ideas with the wider community. The group generally agreed that central Dunfermline has a good greenspace resource with both Pittencrieff Park (known as the Glen locally) and Dunfermline Public Park located close to the main town centre. While the Glen is well connected to the High Street, links to the Public Park are less clear and harder to find. This is particularly important since the Public Park provides a green link to the Railway Station and to the two primary schools for the town centre. The placemaking process also highlighted the difference between the relative quiet and green High Street and the traffic dominated East Port (which is an extension of the High Street).
The group developed a range of placemaking actions which prioritised improving links between the High Street and key local facilities through the town’s greenspaces. This is both about physical links and signage and more ‘thematic’ links seeking to create a series of arts and performance connections across the Town Centre with a focus on access for all. A key element of these proposals is the creation of a temporary stage in a stalled space on the High Street which will become a link in a music and performance network across the town centre – taking in both parks and also local cafes and other venues. The group also identified the potential for working with businesses on the East Port to identify and deliver small scale greening projects.
Practical works are underway on the quick win projects and we are supporting the group to develop working relationships with the local Community Council, the Dunfermline Greenspace Forum and Dunfermline Delivers.
In a nice example of the community placemaking principle ‘It’s not about the money’, project partner Central Dunfermline Community Council worked with the group to more than double the project budget to allow a fuller set of actions to be delivered within the town centre much sooner, including new signage and the creation of an outdoor performance space.
This project was supported by Scottish Government and features as a case study on the Scotland’s Towns Partnership website