Mural at Gifford Park, Edinburgh


Building owner/client:

The Southside Association

Architect or lead designer:

Kate George (Artist)

Local Authority Area:


Nominating Body:

Southside Community Council

Project Description

Despite being a well-used route by pedestrians and cyclists, the area was neglected and ugly, with a very large number of waste and trade bins, and was regularly disfigured by fly-tipping of mattresses and other large waste, and the walls on either side were dirty and covered with graffiti. When the City of Edinburgh Council decided to rationalise the pedestrian traffic lights so that they would be located at the end of this short street and connect to new bicycle path in the street opposite, and onward to the Innocent Railway (a well-used route to the eastern suburbs) as part of the upgrade of the Meadows to Innocent Railway Cycle path, a plan was developed by Mrs. McDowell, a member of the community, to clean up the area, and have a local artist (who had already made one mural in the neighbourhood) design an attractive mural for the walls. The City of Edinburgh Council and Sustrans agreed to provide modest funding to pay the artist to design a mural highlighting pedestrians and cyclists, and with other attractive designs relevant to the area, including illustrations of the kind of work done by the adjacent small businesses. After consultation with members of the community, including the owners of the shops whose walls were to be painted (who were understandably very enthusiastic about the project), the artist, Kate George arranged preparation of the wall surfaces and drew the outlines, and supervised and led the painting, helped by members of the local community. The result has transformed this area into something attractive, which is noticed and appreciated by both residents and tourists. 

Supporting Statement

The mural is a high quality design, highly appropriate for its location and its use. It is an innovative use of unused wall space to make an enormous difference to a blighted area in a neighbourhood that has many buildings that are neglected, and whose appearance is dingy and unappealing, although it is an historic part of the city, and the buildings are excellent tenement flats that could become much more attractive. The project is sustainable in that the mural will add value to the space for years to come, and contributes to encouraging walking and cycling. It clearly helps preserve and enhance the local historic built environment, and the area has been maintained in a clean state for the past months. The community involvement also benefitted the community, bringing young and old people together to do this work, and those who did so feel justified pride in the truly delightful result of their work, which is almost unbelievable to those who knew this spot in its former disgusting state. As the mural is visible from the main shopping street that runs through the Southside, its impact is widespread, giving pleasure to local residents out on the street to do their shopping or other business, and to people passing through on the many buses going into the city centre.