Welcome to Leith-on-Sea
“Welcome to Leith-on-Sea” was created by Abi Gardner and Sam Wilson. This fantastical vision explores how a community can live with and be protected against floods and rising sea levels by embracing nature. Would they want to live in Leith on Sea? Find out more about the innovative solutions from Abi and Sam in the artwork below:
Job: Freelance Illustrator
Style: I’m inspired by fantasy movies and video games, using water colours and inks to achieve a humorous and unique style.
Q: What was the creative process behind this piece?
A: This project was a fun one to work on as I was able to combine what I had learnt from Abi about urban water management and translate this into a futuristic landscape of Leith that makes greenspaces part of everyday life whilst fending off any potential disasters. From there, we were discussing how the concept of Leith On Sea would be a huge boost for tourism -that’s where we got the idea to pursue a more vintage style and mimic those stylised tourist boards.
Q: Which nature-based solutions included in the piece do you think would make the best tourist attractions?
A: It’s hard to choose! I started by adding new islands off the coast so that we can combat coastal erosion but these could also support tourist centres or additional housing. The vision also turns Newhaven from its current industrial feel into more of a wetland habitat, with potential for it to become a popular nature reserve right on peoples’ doorsteps. My favourite feature is probably the HMY Britannia which is now a beautiful floating garden as it takes an iconic landmark of Edinburgh and turns it into something incredibly unique.
- I am currently working on a project that involves drawing 100 unique characters based around 100 different pantone colours. You can follow the journey on my instagram or even get a print of your favourite via my website.
Job: Biodiversity and Climate Change Engagement Officer
Bio: The main focus of my work is about engaging and connecting people with nature across Scotland and ensuring it is accessible to all.
Q: How did your work on nature-based solutions inform this artwork?
A: Nature-Based Solutions can provide one-third of the cost-effective climate mitigation needed between now and 2030 to stabilise warming to below 2°C. At NatureScot, we’re already helping to deliver many of the urban nature-based solutions you can see in the artwork. As a coastal location, Leith will experience pressures from sea level rise leading to an increase in coastal erosion and flooding. We’ve depicted this in the vision through a new dune system which will not only help protect the coastline from erosion and prevent flooding of built areas, but also provide new habitat for Scottish species and a green space for people to enjoy.
As part of the National Coastal Assessment, the Dynamic Coasts Project is a brilliant real-life example where we are using historic and predictive mapping to investigate how our coasts are likely to change as we look to 2050 and beyond. Aside from inspiring our vision of Leith on Sea, data from this project directly informs practitioners and policy makers on decisions over how to enhance coastal resilience and which areas are suitable for development.
Q: These projects sound like a big undertaking, what can the average person do to help out their local area?
A: People can contribute by helping manage their local greenspace in ways that help us adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce biodiversity loss – be it your garden, work or school grounds, or local park or nature reserve. If you have an outdoor space at home, or at school or work, you can help alleviate flooding by reducing the amount of hard surfaces such as paving or artificial grass, planting pollinator-friendly plants, or being a lazy gardener and letting it grow a bit wild. You could even go a step further and see if your home or office/school is suitable for a green roof or living wall. These not only help slow down rainwater and prevent our sewage systems being overwhelmed in times of extreme weather, but they also provide extra greenspace for wildlife and can reduce your energy consumption by insulating your building in the winter and cooling it in the summer!
- For an overview of NatureScot’s other work on urban nature-based solutions or to find local examples, click through to their interactive project map: https://snh.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Shortlist/index.html?appid=cd6901d4b36b4c00b5eaa8c6cb8a6e2a&folderid=ea48b521d4804b9b870efaf82a795a48
- More info on the Dynamic Coasts project here:
Future Green Spaces Virtual Exhibition
You can check out the final masterpiece and all the other brilliant artworks via our virtual gallery overlooking Edinburgh’s iconic Arthur’s Seat, You can the exhibition and all other BES online events (from an ecology-themed comedy night and draw-alongs to insect decline debates) on the BES Edinburgh Science Festival event hub here.
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