Edinburgh is a world renowned and well loved European capital city, at the heart of Scotland’s economy. Its historic fabric means, however, that there are limits on growth potential in many areas – particularly in those parts of the city protected by its World Heritage Site status. 

The waterfront at Leith consists of brownfield land where development can take place without any risk to the city’s important heritage sites. Forth Ports commissioned the creation of a development framework which establishes the pattern of development in Leith Docks for the next 30 years. 

Whilst working with RMJM, Nathan led the masterplanning process and produced design proposals to deliver both Supplementary Planning Guidance, and Outline Planning Approval. 

The project is one of the most significant brownfield regeneration projects in the UK, for an area of approximately 170 hectares, including the existing docks and the historic core of Leith. 
In partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council and Forth Ports the project team established a shared vision for Leith. This would provide Edinburgh with a waterfront development and ‘Capital City Port’ facility appropriate to a major European capital city.


The overarching objective of the vision for this area was:

‘To provide an extension of Leith and the city which integrates the old and new areas in a mixed, balanced and inclusive waterfront community while responding to contemporary aspirations, concerns and ideas regarding urban planning’.

The proposals established land uses, landscape structure, transport routes, likely infrastructure requirements, a framework for future masterplans and the foundation for the establishment of a full urban design toolkit for the area. 

The framework required that nine more detailed masterplans be prepared for defined sub-areas. This strategy would allow for flexibility in the delivery of future development and allow proposals to respond to the economic and  legislative contexts in which they are produced.

Nathan's work investigated, a broad range of issues including infrastructure requirements, and innovative models of sustainable high density low rise developments. 

Throughout the process he undertook numerous public presentations and consultation exercises. This stakeholder engagement process also included meetings with local authority officers, council members, politicians, and presentation to UNESCO-ICOMOS in their review of Edinburghs’ world heritage status.