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02 October, 2017

Scottish Natural Heritage Announces Social Housing Research

On World Habitat Day, Scottish Natural Heritage announces recently commissioned research into the opportunities for green infrastructure within housing projects

Everyone in Scotland should be able to access nature on their doorstep, according to new SNH Chief Executive Francesca Osowska. As part of a wider drive to encourage greater access to green spaces, SNH has commissioned research into the opportunities to provide social housing projects with green infrastructure. 

The theme for the United Nations’ World Habitat Day, October 2 2017, is Housing Policies: Affordable Homes. SNH’s ambition is that everyone should have easy access to good quality greenspace and opportunities to experience nature close to where they live, which supports the national indicator on access to local greenspace.

Green space and access to nature is beneficial for individuals, communities and society at large. There is also a growing recognition that access to nature can bring a range of health benefits.

The research, which will be published in April 2018, will review existing practice and research opportunities for green infrastructure to the residents of social housing and the wider community.

Francesca Osowska said, “Social housing providers account for around a quarter of new build homes in Scotland each year, and the Scottish Government has committed £3 billion over the lifetime of this parliament to deliver 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 social homes.

“Much of SNH’s work is focused on ensuring that everyone is able to participate in and engage with nature in ways that enrich our lives. The recommendations in the report will be used to inform and support future work.

“It is our vision that nature should be accessible to all, and by continuing our work with a wide variety of individuals, businesses, the voluntary and other public sector bodies, we will continue to achieve results for Scotland’s nature and people.”


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Notes to editors

The Steering Group for the Social Housing and Green Infrastructure research project includes representatives from Scottish Government, the Central Scotland Green Network Trust, the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership and Architecture and Design Scotland.

Francesca Osowska joins Scottish Natural Heritage on October 2 2017. She was educated in Cumbria and at Cambridge University where she obtained an MA in economics.  She also received and MA in European economics from the College of Europe in Bruges.

Francesca joined the civil service as an economist in 1993. Her first posting was in the Employment Department in Sheffield.  After brief stints in London and Brussels, Francesca moved to Edinburgh in 1997 as a government economist with the then Scottish Office.  In 1998 Francesca moved to the policy stream of the Scottish Office in the education department.  Francesca then held posts in the education and justice departments of the Scottish Executive and was Head of Sport at the Scottish Executive / Government. 

Between 2007 and 2009, Francesca was Principal Private Secretary to the First Minister, the Right Honourable Alex Salmond MSP, MP and moved in December 2009 to be Director for Culture, External Affairs and Tourism.

Francesca was appointed Director for Housing, Regeneration and the Commonwealth Games in the Scottish Government in January 2010 and subsequently moved to the post of Director for the Commonwealth Games and Sport in January 2013.  And she was appointed as Director for the Scotland Office in the UK Government in January 2015. Francesca was awarded an OBE for services to Government and the Commonwealth Games in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours in January 2015.

The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day.

The theme for World Habitat Day 2 October 2017 is Housing Policies: Affordable Homes.

The purpose of World Habitat Day is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns. World Habitat Day was established in 1985 by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 40/202, and was first celebrated in 1986.

Scottish Natural Heritage is the government's adviser on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help people understand, value and enjoy Scotland's nature now and in the future. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

Tha Dualchas Nàdair na h-Alba na buidheann comhairleachaidh dhan riaghaltas a thaobh nàdair agus seallaidhean-tìre air feadh Alba. ’S e an dleastanas a th’ againn cuideachadh a thoirt do dhaoine gus tuigse, luach agus tlachd fhaighinn bho nàdar na h-Alba, an-dràsta agus san àm ri teachd. Airson tuilleadh fiosrachaidh, tadhail air  no lean sinn air Twitter aig