Middlefield is an area in North Aberdeen considered to be within the most deprived 15% of zones in Scotland, with health indicators particularly low and a relatively young population compared to the rest of the city.
The issues identified at the site were lack of connectivity, safety, vandalism, poor signage and quality of the space due to frequent flooding. Aberdeen City Council has worked with the community extensively, which included conducting a ‘Total Place’ audit of the neighbourhood in 2014, consulting with children at after school clubs and with the local community groups. The result was a funding application which represented the needs of the community: improving the functionality and aesthetics of the park and introducing a flood alleviation scheme.
- Reduce the risk of flooding in Middlefield and the River Don basin
- Improve greenspace within a deprived area
- Engage local community and encourage use of the greenspace
A Community Ranger was hired to deliver community engagement and led sessions and projects centred on outdoor learning, mindfulness and environmental improvements. For example, the ranger worked with Heathryburn and Manor Park primary schools to design a logo for the new greenspace, they delivered weekly after school gardening clubs at Bramble Brae School, weekly outdoor activities for Middlefield Nursery kids and outdoor learning activities with older students at Bucksburn Academy. The ranger has also led a course for mums from Manor Park School to work on mindfulness and coping with stress and children with behaviour issues and the ranger has made plans to deliver the John Muir Award to groups of priority families. A ‘Friends of’ group was established to participate in the design, management and maintenance of the green space alongside the council. The community group also manage projects with Sunnybank Football Club and the Heathryfold Allotment Holders Association.
The project has improved the current pathways and created new paths throughout the site. There are now footpaths across the top of the weirs, two bridges and paths linking to the community centre. This will provide opportunities for people to participate in active travel and outdoor exercise and it will link communities from across the park together, making the green space more accessible and safe for all users.
FLOODING AND BIODIVERSITY
The Scatter Burn, running through the park, has been de-culverted and a series of weirs, bunds and wetland areas have been created to increase the resilience of the site to heavy rainfall and to improve water quality downstream in the River Don and bathing waters. As a result of this new habitats have been created (wetlands, wildflowers and ponds) to accommodate new species of flora and fauna. A new play area has been installed with a range of formal and informal play opportunities.
The project has also contributed to carbon emission savings by re-purposing the Beryllium contaminated soil to make up the new bunds/weirs, the alternative required 4,000 lorry journeys to deliver the contaminated soil to Falkirk where it could be processed.
- Developing climate change adaptation; improving risk management and resilience
- Flood peak reduction
- Reduce flood risk
- Reduce load to sewer system
- Reduce run-off
- Developing climate change mitigation
- Restoring ecosystems and their functions
- Greater ecological connectivity across urban regenerated sites
- Improve connectivity and functionality of green and blue infrastructures
- Increase Biodiversity
- Increase quality and quantity of green and blue infrastructures
- Increased cultural richness and biodiversity
- Changing image of the urban environment
- Improve air quality
- Improve water quality
- Increase accessibility to green open spaces
- Increase amount of green open spaces for residents
- Increase communities’ sense of ownership
- Increase social interaction
- Increase well-being
- Provision of health benefits
- Social inclusion