The Board

 Andrew Picken –Current Chair

Andrew Picken1Andrew has lived in Edinburgh for nearly twenty years and is currently the politics and investigations editor for The Sunday Post. Based at the Scottish Parliament, Andrew has worked for a number of national papers writing about politics and current affairs. Before becoming a reporter Andrew worked in IT for the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Akiko Kobayashi – Founding Director

Akiko KobayashiAkiko worked in architectural practice for 15 years prior to focussing on the facilitation of community led development in the built environment. She has construction site experience, is a registered Architect and certified Passivhaus designer. Current projects include design and project co-ordination of an adventure playground and a church fit-out for self-assembly by the congregation.
Akiko studied at Cambridge, Edinburgh and Abertay Dundee, has worked in London, Tokyo, Sydney and Edinburgh and has been a resident of Marchmont since 2006.

Tom Bristow – Founding Director

Tom BristowTom Bristow moved to Gladstone Terrace in October 2003 to take up a PhD at the University of Edinburgh, and has been a resident of the street since. He is currently a research fellow at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions at the University of Melbourne, and will return to the UK in the summer of 2017. Tom enjoys working with voluntary groups in Edinburgh and has served on the Marchmont and Sciennes Community Council since 2016. He is the author of The Anthropocene Lyric: An Affective Geography of Poetry, Person, Place (2015) co-editor of A Cultural History of Climate Change (2016) and journal editor for PAN (Philosophy Activism Nature).

Margaret Coughtrie – Treasurer

Margaret Coughtrie2Margaret has been investing for over 30 years as both an institutional investor and business angel. Her main interest is to mobilise entrepreneurial capital to accomplish sustainable economic growth in a cost effective and realistic manner. She currently mentors start-up businesses and researches the economics of public policy around their supply of capital. She holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and Business Administration, Accounting and Economics qualifications. Her hands-on entrepreneurial exploits include the establishment of asset management businesses and a retail and courier business.
Margaret studied at Edinburgh, McGill and Strathclyde and has worked in Edinburgh, London, Montreal and Miami.

Nathan Bower-Bir – Director

Nathan Bower-BirNathan helped establish the Edinburgh Student Housing Co-operative—the UK’s largest affordable, self-run student housing project—where he has been living and supporting its day-to-day management and operations in since it opened in 2014. To help more students take control of their own housing, Nathan has spearheaded ESHC expansion projects, working with financial institutions, universities, the City Council, developers, and other stakeholders to secure new properties. He has also worked with students across the UK and internationally to develop similar schemes. Nathan currently studies the housing crisis and its interactions with democratic empowerment, and has a background in sustainable energy systems and low carbon technologies.


 John Lewthwaite – Secretary

Chartered Surveyor and Senior Project Manager

Saska Haramina – Founding Director

Events organiser and promoter

Mike Shaw – Adviser (co-operative housing)

Zoe Fowlie – Adviser (legal)

Cath Henderson – Adviser (general)