Building with Nature – Greener Social Housing by Design

Scotland’s urban green spaces provide many benefits for people and nature – from opportunities to exercise; spaces to grow food; refuges for wildlife; and valuable services, such as managing flood water and mitigating the effects of air and noise pollution. But there are still many places in Scotland, often associated with areas of disadvantage, where green infrastructure is not fulfilling its potential in terms of the number of benefits it could provide.

SNH and the Scottish Government are working with Architecture & Design Scotland and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, to support place-design that maximizes the benefits of green infrastructure in social housing. Our Social Housing and Green Infrastructure project will provide financial support to three new projects that will provide lessons for the housing sector and lead to more opportunities for people to connect with nature close to where they live.

Meadowbank Green Roof Viability Study

This study is based on a mixed development of new housing and local amenities surrounding Meadowbank Sports Centre, in Edinburgh. The viability study will explore:

  • How blue/green roofs might enhance the ecological value of the site
  • How blue/green roofs might contribute to an environmental and ecologically sensitive water management strategy
  • How blue/green roofs compare to traditional roofing systems, drainage and associated maintenance.
  • The costs of different roof solutions, and the implications for the efficient use of the rest of the site to deliver a range of functions and benefits

This project is coordinated by Collective Architecture and Ian White Associates on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council. The project has benefited from the input of Dusty Gedge, the UK’s leading expert on green roofs.


Meadowbank Regeneration Site, Edinburgh

North Maryhill

In Glasgow, Maryhill Housing Association is preparing an indicative masterplan for a new neighbourhood within the North Maryhill Transformational Regeneration Area. The neighbourhood will be a distinct place, focused around green infrastructure that functions at both a local and city scale. The project is being coordinated by ERZ Landscape Architects on behalf of Glasgow City Council.

SNH is supporting an additional study here to learn lessons that are transferable to the wider social housing sector. The research will explore in detail opportunities to deliver multifunctional green infrastructure, integrated with a mixed tenure neighbourhood at the heart of the site, and explore the costs and benefits of doing so.

Couple working in their allotment, Maryhill Glasgow

Couple working in their allotment, Maryhill Glasgow

Queensland Court

We are working with Southside Housing Association to explore the maintenance costs associated with a new retrofitted sustainable urban drainage scheme, and new play opportunities in the grounds of one of their properties – Queensland Court, in Cardonald, Glasgow. The capital works are funded by the Green Infrastructure Strategic Intervention.

Presenting Southside Housing Association with Green Infrastructure Fund Award

Presenting Southside Housing Association with Green Infrastructure Fund Award

Building with Nature

At all three sites, SNH and the Scottish Government are providing financial support to enable the projects to be assessed against Building with Nature Standards. This has included support for City of Glasgow Council to enable two of their planners to be trained as Building with Nature assessors.

Together, these projects will provide valuable lessons and case studies for the social housing sector, on how to achieve multiple benefits from green infrastructure, in a way that delivers successful nature-rich places that are resilient to climate change.


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