I am really encouraged by local people stepping forward to improve their area. It shows how much green and open spaces are valued by the community and I am very much behind these initiatives.
Transforming a place
Artist’s impression: Aga Mietkiewicz, Animation: Robert Motyka / Wee Dog Media
The Causey sits in the Southside Conservation area and covers West Crosscauseway from Nicolson Street to Chapel Street and Buccleuch Street, including the traffic island area.
Causey Development Trust is a charity committed to putting people back at the heart of The Causey, a street in Edinburgh’s Southside, by transforming it into a space that everyone can enjoy.
Currently dominated by vehicles and a redundant, unsightly traffic island, The Causey has the potential to be a fine civic space that draws attention to and respects its heritage.
By reconfiguring The Causey we will promote everyday walking and cycling while giving local people, students and visitors an attractive and accessible space that can be used for community-inspired events, neighbourliness, socialising and simply soaking up the historic surrounds.
What We Do
Since 2007 we have worked at a grassroots level to develop a transformative design for this historic but underused and unattractive space in Edinburgh’s Southside.
Our design is based on the aspirations and insights gathered from the local community and City of Edinburgh Council and is underpinned by our commitment to sustainability, greener and safer active travel and the wellbeing of local people and visitors.
There has never been a better time to invest in the spaces around us. The global pandemic that began in 2020 has changed how we live, travel and interact and the pressure to reduce vehicle emissions has never been stronger. By supporting The Causey you are:
Promoting walking, cycling and active travel
Putting people at the heart of a community
Promoting greener living
Respecting its heritage
Providing space for community events and neighbourliness
Creating a better civic space at the heart of Edinburgh’s Southside
Where We’re At
A design proposal for The Causey has been drawn up by Ironside Farrar Landscape Architects, based on local people’s ideas expressed in our community engagement. You can find this here.
To date we have a route to £1million of the funding we need to achieve this proposal, thanks to pledges and potential match funding from Sustrans. We are open to further donations and funding opportunities. For more information see below for contact details.
To carry out the capital works for the transformation of The Causey, this design proposal needs an approved Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) and Redetermination Order (RDO) which, due to a small number of unresolved objections, required a Scottish Ministers Hearing to take place. This happened in August 2021 and an outcome is currently awaited.
Who We Work With
Messages of Support
Here’s what locals and supporters have to say.
The Causey is the sort of effort to carve space for neighbourliness and community out of roads and traffic that is understood to be increasingly important to all of us. The locals who have made this effort deserve much respect: I only hope it inspires other communities, and the City in general, to make Causeys all over Edinburgh.
The Saturday Sit Oot at the Causey grew very organically and has become a highlight in my week. A barren, ugly traffic island has, in my mind, blossomed into a valuable meeting place for friends, neighbours and passersby to discuss, listen, exchange, plan, reflect, learn, connect and bond. Each week I come away feeling energised, daring to hope for positive change in the future.
It’s hard to express how fully I support this project.
Our shared spaces could be nourishing. They could give us, our children, our parents, the young, old, ill, well, rich, poor – everyone – a small opportunity to breath clean air. To meet with each other. To walk, ride a bike, look at a tree, hear each other, kick a ball, or hear a bird singing. They could embody the respect we have for each other.
But small inexpensive changes can quickly transform spaces, as countless cities around the world are finally beginning to recognise.
West Crosscauseway resident
I often pass through that junction; at the moment it is an unattractive, little used space for occasional traffic and I would love to see the space better utilised. I love your suggestion of making it more pedestrian and cycle friendly, and turning the unused space into a pleasant area that can serve the local community. Community and time outside are so important to people’s wellbeing.
This looks amazing – such a transformation! Fingers crossed it happens. Anything I can do to help/write to support? It’s on my (normal) bike commute to work & we’re (again, normally) often in the neighbourhood at weekends.
This is the green walkable future we deserve!
MSc City Planning Graduate, Glasgow
Cannot wait to see my West Crosscauseway / The Causey street to be more welcoming to people instead of prioritising storage of cars, noise, danger & pollution. I wish to see more public seating, more trees and plants. And infrastructure for cyclists.
The Scots word ‘causey’ is from Old French caucie, a beaten way, and it means a road properly built and surfaced with metalling or pavings, or the making of one.
Crosscauseway is a street that historically links Causeyside (now Buccleuch Street) and the Pleasance and it is recorded in 1599 as having been “causeyed” giving the street its name: “Crosscausey”, later corrupted to “Crosscauseway”.
Sir Walter Scott, who grew up a stone’s throw from The Causey on George Square, mentions The Guse Dub, a spring and goose pond in the angle between West Crosscausey and Causeyside (now Buccleuch Street), in his childhood memories.
Robert Burns, Scotland’s famous bard, lodged at Buccleuch Pend or Entry in 1784. The original tenement was rebuilt in 2000 as affordable housing.
These two churches frame the historic space known locally as The Causey: The Chapel of Ease: B-listed and built in 1755-6 as an overflow for St Cuthbert’s, Lothian Road, has a tranquil secret graveyard housing several significant graves plus the unmarked grave of Deacon Brodie. Buccleuch and Greyfriars Church, C listed and dating from 1856, dominates the area with its towering steeple and has a significant hammer beam roof.