Sunday, 4 April 2010

Open and Close

Dunbar's Close Gardens or the mushroom garden, is also known by many locals and children as the herb garden, is a gem in the heart of the Old Town.
However it is also one of the Canongate's beautiful wee green spaces which seems to get less accessible each year! Now managed through CEC parks department it is closed on a Saturday afternoon at 3pm and locked!
It is disappointing that there are so very few small green spaces open and available to the local community that are safe for children to play in, but on weekdays this particular one is often closed before school comes out.

Luckily gardens at Coinyie House Close and Chessel's Court have not become gated and the public access through these areas ensures their protection as PUBLIC SPACE
The closes are a much loved feature of Edinburgh's Old Town, the intimate nature of these streets provide playspace and often a glimpse of something else. They allow us all to experience and understand the compact nature of the medieval city.
The closes also give a hint to the history of the place, and the people who inhabited them, through their names and local children have always enjoyed them as playspace, often renaming them to reflect uses round about.

The closes and wynds also provide a safe alternative for pedestrians to the busy main roads around the Old Town but better access to green spaces and routes is needed. As Edinburgh Council have now invited responses to their Open Space Strategy, perhaps now is the time to look for opportunities to reopen some of the closes and spaces which have been blocked off and suggest new safe routes through the area.

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