Wasteland Collective is Here + Now …now!

Over the laHere + now landscape architecture Scotland designing engaging curatingst few months the Wasteland Collective has morphed into a new and exciting entity. We are in the process of becoming the first Scottish landscape architecture CIC (Community Interest Company) and have a shiny new website to show off too! www.thehereandnow.org.uk

We are really pleased with what the Wasteland Collective has achieved and can’t wait to keep up the momentum within our new company. Our ethos is in line with what the Wasteland Collective started, but has expanded into three main areas: Designing, Curating and Engaging. Here + Now hopes to make influential changes in how we see and use the places around us. We have many exciting projects, events, collaborations and much more on the go, and would love for anyone passionate about creating better places to pop on over to our new website, have a browse and sign up to our mailing list!

We are excited about developing the Wasteland Collective into something even more active, unique and meaningful that is Here. Now.

Thanks for all the support for WC and we hope to see you on the other side!


Talk to MOBILELAND @ Strathclyde University

Last Friday, Liz from the Wasteland Collective was invited to present a talk about regenerating vacant land to students of the  MOBILELAND course at Strathclyde University.

photo-41It was great to hear about the processes and projects the students there have been involved in, and to share some ideas for how architects and landscape architects can help shape more humane, engaging, and meaningful places. We’re looking forward to some future collaborations…!

Check out their project here:


Pretty Vacant: pecha kucha

The Wasteland Collective were invited to speak at the A+DS curated Pecha Kucha last night, to talk a bit about the work we’ve been involved in over the last year and to share some thoughts on what we’ve seen along the way! It was a brilliant evening with a great turn out, and it was so inspiring to hear all the other projects talked about too at this fast-paced ideas-filled ambition-fuelled evening! Thank you A+DS for the invitation, and look forward to some collaborations with some of the other vacant landers soon.

A+DS pretty vacant pecha kucha nightThere’s more information about the evening and the other speakers here: www.ads.org.uk/events/pechakucha-night-21-pretty-vacant

And apparently films of all the talks are going to be made available online soon too! But for now, here is a wee snippet from our talk…

We’re here to share an obsession with waste, an obsession with land, and some thoughts about collectives! Over the last year, the wasteland collective have been collecting wastelands and giving them a bit of fresh thought.

Waste is just an interpretation of resources and opportunities. And we would say there’s really no such thing as waste. After this short sequence of slides, I’m hoping you all think a bit differently about ‘waste’ land…. I’d like you to be part of the growing number who see the opportunities in urban wasted space!

One of our projects was a series of participatory workshops with school children from one of Edinburgh’s peripheral estates, where we started to explore concepts of land value. The project was called Our Natural Capital, and it was a great way to use the kid’s insights and honest make-no-bones of it attitudes to explore land as a resource with value.  We produced a story map which presents how the kids see heritage, resource, and the value of urban land. We used storytelling as a medium to build curiosity around urban landscapes and started asking bigger questions about what’s good enough. At the end, we actually managed to produce a manifesto of principles for better places!

It just goes to show, ‘Values tend to influence attitudes and behaviour’

We are a collective of creative professionals, but at its core are two landscape architects who are looking for a way to put urban land to more dynamic effect.  We don’t just talk about it behind closed doors though: We have hosted two exhibitions, a pop-up market garden, and helped run a series of participatory workshops exploring concepts of land, wasteland, and value.  We are currently working with A+DS to explore mechanisms of ‘pop-up practice’, focused around the work of landscape architects, really thinking about different ways of working.

This is emerging practice, but we’ve found a fantastic energy and interest in the idea that urban land could work harder; and that landscape architects might be at the core of offering new approaches for realising this.

We work with people, with space, with nature, it all comes together. We understand these processes and systems, and can begin to prioritise and orchestrate things……

We can begin to inspire elegant solutions… ‘human’ places arise from wasted ground

Going forward, we hope to continue working with creative practitioners, but also with groups of people not from trained backgrounds: artists and community growers, filmmakers and storytellers, children and older people, people who like to build and people who like to demolish, to come up with fresh approaches in response to today’s needs and aspirations all set within the backdrop of a newly imagined version of our existing urban fabric.

pop-up peace

Here’s cool idea by a friend of the Wasteland Collective!  Studio neighbour Jaimie MacDonald has come up with an alternative type of pop-up… Pop-up Peace!

She plans to run a series of chats on her street corner near a leafy greenspace… here’s her flier. We think this is a great idea, and are planning to collaborate with her soon. Find out more at http://www.madecurious.co.uk/blog/2014/7/25/pop-up-peace-part-1

Pop up PEACE

Plant a Place

… some photos from last weekend’s pop-up garden!

It was great to have lots of passers-by taking advantage of a little greenspace in the city centre. Stopping to pick up some of the free seeds we were giving away, sitting with a delicious pulled pork sandwich from our neighbouring stand… or just popping in for a quick gardening chat, it was great to meet you and hear about your urban gardening escapades!

But best of all was planting herbs in recycled tin cans with the kids that visited our garden. Its great to think they know now just how easy it is to make their own little greenspaces whether on a doorstep, window sill or patio space.

This pop-up project focused around the importance of urban greenspace, and showed that you don’t even need to lift the slabs to create a spot of nature and tranquility – the bees took about half an hour to find our flowers, which just goes to show – you bring the plants and the rest comes to you!

DSC_0372 Plant a PlaceDSC_0380 DSC_0395

Do It In Public… [cont’d] !

We really enjoyed talking to everyone who came along to the Do It In Public exhibition a month or so ago; it was inspiring to realise how much energy and interest there is for creating more living, vibrant, exiciting urban places here in Edinburgh.  As a result, we decided to take it further, out into the streets….

We are creating a pop-up garden at the St Mary’s Church Edinburgh Market! In collaboration with the Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust and Edinburgh Markets, we are hosting a market stall which celebrates how simple, fun and easy it is to get growing in your urban places. You’ll find somewhere to sit and relax, can plant something to take away with you, and will find heaps of information about how you can plant a place yourself or with a small group. The project demonstrates that you don’t need a complicated community group set up, a bank balance with loads of funding, or even a particularly big space to get growing. We can help you see how you can get started now, and transform the urban realm around you.

Find us at the top of Leith Walk / Broughton Street this weekend, 24th and 25th August 2013, any time from 11am – 5pm. Look forward to seeing you then !

plant a place at the market square, edinburgh markets