Our story

‘Causey’ is Scots for a street or pavement laid with cobble-stones, giving rise to such sayings as ‘to kiss the causey’ which means fall flat on your face!
The Causey project consists of the potential transformation of the street, West Crosscauseway, and its traffic island, in the Southside Conservation area, from vehicle dominance into a fine place that prioritises people.

A film tells our story:

14 years ago, Alison Blamire, the inspiration behind The Causey, created an event transforming the street into a Tropical Island for three days. The intention of the event was to highlight how our streets have prioritised vehicle movement at the expense of health, wellbeing, neighbourliness, heritage and community. Local people and visitors immediately saw the street’s potential as a place for people and The Causey Development Trust emerged with a steering group of local people.

Local engagement and consultation
Subsequently, with Ideas Workshops, consultation, exhibitions, and community events, 50 in all, Causey Development Trust, with input from Ironside Farrar Landscape Architects, has delivered a design which better meets the need of residents, businesses and the local community.

The proposal
The street becomes a pleasant link to green places like Holyrood Park and The Meadows and a respite from the bustling Nicolson Street. The design adds mandatory cycle lanes, wider pavements, reduced traffic flow and speed to encourage active travel. It also creates a new public space encouraging neighbourliness, supporting wellbeing and hosting appropriate community events. It highlights the heritage of the street – one of the earliest paved, or causey’d streets in Edinburgh – and respects its surrounding historic buildings. There are at least 60 A listed buildings within a 10 minute walk from the Causey.

A cleaner, healthier environment
In 2007 the damage to our health from vehicle emissions, and the detriment to every day walking and cycling from vehicle dominance was uppermost in our thinking as well as the disadvantage experienced by non car owners. Our need for a cleaner environment is now more pressing than ever and the reduction in vehicle movement proposed in the design supports this. CDT regularly promotes Clean Air Day Scotland at The Causey.

Support from others
The aims of The Causey project enjoy support from Sustrans, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh World Heritage, Scottish Civic Trust, Living Streets Scotland and The City of Edinburgh Council, and we are very appreciative of the support from staff at the South East Team.

In the intervening 14 years, and most urgently in Covid19 times, the need for our City’s streets to be designed for more, safer, walking, wheeling and cycling is more pressing than ever and is evidenced in the City’s plans for City Centre Transformation, City Mobility Plan and Low Emission Zone and desire for 20 minute neighbourhoods. The Causey project aligns with all of these. Alison sadly died far too young. We’ve carried on with her inspiration and because the need for better streets for people, as Covid 19 shows, is more urgent than ever. Uniquely, this is an exemplar of community regeneration for transforming urban spaces for people and a model for engaging a local community in a pro-active process instead of just constantly complaining about what’s wrong or missing.