The place

The Causey traffic island

Today the area is determined by traffic rather than people. The Causey project engages our local community to reimagine the space. Photo: Peter Dibdin.

Historical context

The Southside of Edinburgh is a Conservation Area lying on the edge of the World Heritage Site. Crosscauseway is a street that runs east-west and historically links two of the principal roads running south out of town, Causeyside [now Buccleuch Street] and the Pleasance. It is recorded in 1599 as having been "causeyed" [paved] — giving the street its name: "Crosscausey" meaning the cross street that is paved (later corrupted to “Crosscauseway”). The third principal route running south, Nicolson Street / South Clerk Street, was built later bisecting Crosscausey to create East Crosscauseway and West Crosscauseway.

> Read more and see historic photos of the area


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Since the 1970s, however, the surface of the space has been configured by roads engineers as a traffic island, subtly shifting its character to become a space dominated by cars, diminishing its appeal for people to pause to enjoy its surrounding historic buildings, and obscuring its qualities as a historic urban space of some importance.

> See photos of the area today

The future and The Causey

We are almost half-way there in our ambition to transform this urban space into a vibrant place, designed for people. The community engagement process aims to be as extensive as possible and a key part of the process has been three design workshops open to the general public and targeting different groups in the Southside. Ideas generated during the workshop were documented with models, photography and video. This material is shared on this website, Flickr and YouTube.

> Read more about the workshops, see the photos and watch the videos

> Read more about our recent progress in the News section

2007: The Causey and SIX CITIES design festival

The Causey project was originally conceived by ARCADE Architects and included as part of the SIX CITIES Design Festival 2007. Following consultation and a creative ideas workshop, the local community decided to transform the busy traffic island into a tropical island and space for people. The event ran from 26-28 May 2007 and was hugely enjoyed by over 500 people per day. The temporary project was so successful that it won an award and inspired members of the local community to form The West Crosscauseway Association (WCCA) in order to develop more ideas and transform the space permanently. The WCCA is now known as The Causey Development Trust.

> Read more about the award-winning event, watch videos and download our report