Parklife meeting

Hello everyone

It’s been a few months now since we’ve been in contact with you, so the Parklife team would like to invite you to a meeting in The Pod at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation at High School Yards (same place as last time for those who attended) from 6.00-7.30PM on Tuesday 22 October. The team would like to update you on the progress that’s been made in your park, if you would like to attend please could you let me know, in the meantime please find below a project update for you ahead of the meeting.

Hope to see you there.

Lindsay Grant|Parks Programmes Manager|Parks, Greenspace & Cemeteries|Level 3.1|Waverley Court
4 East Market Street|Edinburgh|EH8 8BG|0131 469 5257


We are conscious that we have not been in contact for a while however we can reassure you that we have not been idle! The information below will provide you with an update about what we’ve been doing since our last workshop and more information about the sorts of technology has either already been installed or is about to be installed in your park.


The ParkLife Project has been extended by NESTA for 3 months until the end of February, this extra time will allow us to gather more data.

We are sharing our experience and technology with the new Future Parks Accelerator project through our colleagues in the Council and the University of Edinburgh who are leading on the initiative.

Illustrations have been completed of each of the four pilot parks along with visual narratives for each of the prototypes/solutions. The illustrations below will help to explain the prototypes we’ve deployed in each of the parks.

A prototype website has been created for Parklife using infographics to communicate the findings of the survey undertaken of park users, this was designed for ParkLife by a masters student in Design Informatics and is viewable via this link.

We commissioned independent filmmakers to make a short introductory video explaining the aims and objectives of the ParkLife project. The video can be viewed on the ParkLife webpage via this link. The intention is to produce a follow-up video to describe what was achieved by the project.

In June, the ParkLife team attended community events held in two of the pilot parks - Leith Links Gala day and The Meadows Festival. The team had two objectives: 1) to promote Nesta and the project to attendees and, 2) to conduct a survey.

In August, Lindsay Grant from the Edinburgh Parks Service gave an interview on BBC Radio Scotland about ParkLife.

Prototypes in Parks

The technology we have installed is based upon the specific list of the ideas generated at our initial sessions, some of the “prototypes” are unique to each park, while some are included across all of them.

Alfred, a noticeboard and chatbot

You of course know Alfred; he acts as a beacon for a virtual noticeboard. The owls are roosting in each of the parks and host a local Wi-Fi hotspot that anyone nearby can connect to and view with their smartphone.

Alfred and the ParkLife noticeboard in Inverleith Park

Once users have connected, they can access a digital noticeboard (webpages only available by logging onto the noticeboard) on the local network (without being connected to the wider internet). This noticeboard will serve as a hub of information about each of the parks, including the new information we are collecting. Each noticeboard will have an e-ink display which updates overnight and provides some interesting numbers about the previous day.

Within the dashboard there is a chatbot allowing park users to talk with or play a game with Alfred (the game is still in development).

Park users can speak to Alfred via the chatbot (top row) or play a game (bottom row)

The chatbot works like Whatsapp and asks users for text responses and photos. Users talking with Alfred will be asked for more information about why they visit their park, how often, and what they value about it. Users can also take part in a treasure hunt to find several mini model owls located at interesting points throughout each of the parks. This is currently still in development.

Your park specific information -

The Meadows and Bruntsfield Links

When are the cricket pitches in use?
We are in the process of establishing a way for a calendar of events to be displayed on the noticeboard. This will require regular updating so we need to consider who can do this long-term.

How many people visit the community garden?
We have installed a people counter sensor on the notice board and the figure is updated daily and displayed on an e-ink display on the noticeboard.

How many people visit the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links?
We will get an impression of these numbers by combining the information we get from all the people counters we are installing in the park. These include:
People counters located on Playpark gates.

Those on Exercise Equipment

And those counting cyclists and their direction of travel

The chatbot will also ask for users’ permission to track their mobile phone for a limited period of time to learn how they move through the park. This type of information will help park managers know where the busiest areas of the park are and where resources are most needed.

Can you detect the presence of bats?
Microphones have been installed in trees that pick up snippets of sound at high frequencies to register the calls of bats. We are now able to detect bats.