Home to a haven of gorgeous greenery, Scotland’s cities are blessed with outstanding natural beauty. If you love the great outdoors, you’ll love our great green urban spaces.

“The voice of nature loudly cries. And many a message from the skies. That something in us never dies.” So declared the famous Scottish poet, Robert Burns.

Surrounded by superb scenery, Scotland’s urban centres are rich in greenspaces, providing the perfect environment to immerse yourself and enjoy the country’s glorious green open spaces, parks and gardens.

Wherever you’re from in the world, you’ll be drawn to Scotland’s green cities, all of which embody the country’s own natural beauty, giving you a sense of calm and relaxation amidst the hustle and bustle.   

Together, our cities promise a warm welcome to those who wish to explore their wonderful wildlife as international travel starts to open up again. What could be better to give your wellbeing a boost after two tough years in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic? Nearly two thirds of adults in Scotland (65%) reveal that being close to nature improves their mood, according to a Mental Health Foundation survey.

Sustainable urban gardens welcome visitors

­Scotland’s cities are teeming with sustainable urban gardens, allotments and botanical venues – all of which will warm your heart if you enjoy being at one with nature and growing your own produce.

Meeting the green-fingered passion for UK and overseas’ students, the University of Dundee has set up around 20 new allotments on campus to enable individuals to grow their own fruit and vegetables. Even better, students at most of Scotland’s university cities have access to green spaces and shared gardens next to student accommodation through groups, clubs and various partnerships.

This year marks the launch of the Dandelion project, an ambitious creative programme that demonstrates “the power of collective action” in a unique ‘grow your own’ initiative. This project proves that produce can be grown almost anywhere with space, such as allotments or even in window boxes for those who live in flats or apartments.   

Free for anyone to take part, you can “join and grow” with Dandelion in many ways, for example signing up for tips on how to grow and share your own food, as well as joining the initiative’s many exciting events.

Carrots - Scotland's green cities

Embrace beautiful green beginnings

2022 has been a new beginning for many people, especially if you’re a student or young professional starting out – and this year is also a special for biodiversity globally – with Scotland being no exception.

The International Day for Biological Diversity is on 22 May. Billed as “Building a shared future for all life”, this unique day will soon make you realise that Scotland is playing its part in providing and preserving green urban areas across its cities. It adds up to Scotland achieving a cleaner and greener future in biodiversity, ahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference #COP15.

With many people energised to enjoy nature after various pandemic restrictions, Scotland is the place to be as it seeks to improve biodiversity protect climate, food and water security and sustainable livelihoods. Scotland is springing into action with many organisations, partners and initiatives joining forces to promote biodiversity. A shining example of putting nature first is the Species on the Edge Programme, led by NatureScot, delivering nine projects for 40 vulnerable species across seven areas along Scotland's coast and islands.

The initiative works with local communities in some of Scotland’s most remote areas to establish projects that are a vital lifeline for our most nationally and internationally vulnerable coastal and island wildlife.

Such proactive green schemes foster a greater good for nature, underpinned by Scotland’s new Biodiversity Strategy

Urban garden projects and initiatives in Scotland:

The Dandelion project

Scotland’s gardens and parks

Net Zero Scotland

The Greenspace Map for Scotland…a world first

Scotland’s Greenspace Map is a world first. No other country has mapped its greenspace in this way, according to www.scotlandguides.org. It’s a useful resource to find where you can enjoy Scotland’s verdant urban spaces – handy for studying in the summer sunshine – or if you want to kick back and relax with family and friends. 

You’re spoilt for choice with biodiversity spaces in Scotland. The interactive map gives information about the type and extent of greenspace in urban Scotland (i.e. towns and cities with a population of over 3000), provided by the 32 Scottish Councils.

The map is useful if you’re a student and/or a young professional who likes the outdoors. It categorises greenspace into 23 different open space types (for example, public parks, private gardens, play areas, semi-natural, community gardens and allotments).

Scotland belongs to Europe's largest urban nature fund

You’re in great company if you support biodiversity and have eyes on living in Scotland’s green cities. With around 80% of its population living in urban areas, the nation is part of Europe's largest urban nature fund (Green Infrastructure Fund). This fund is creating multi-functional sites to improve biodiversity value, environmental equality, health and wellbeing, plus address social inclusion.

As part of Scotland’s commitment to biodiversity, over 44 million trees have been planted, and 250,000 hectares of degraded and drained peatland are being restored back to functioning ecosystems.

So, the stage is set. Scotland’s green urban cities are here for living, working, visiting and studying in. The nation offers a picture-perfect canvas to enjoy. From Net Zero policies to presenting beautiful pockets of biodiversity, Scotland will make you relax and smile, wherever you’re from in the world.  

And remember: “The voice of nature loudly cries” in Scotland.

Isn’t it time you answered that cry from its glorious green cities?

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