What are the challenges for Edinburgh as a liveable city going forward?
We’ve given a couple of examples of both the techniques we use and types of projects we have been involved in which aim to have a positive impact on liveability in Edinburgh. These have looked in particular at the way that we can create better, more vibrant, well-designed public places, help promote easier and more pleasant and convenient movement on foot or by bike, and in bringing communities together to take action in their local places. As HERE+NOW, we are coming at this from the perspective of landscape architects and urban designers. However, those reading will all have your own individual backgrounds, expertise or interests that may understand the topic of ‘liveability’ and its relation to Edinburgh quite differently.
Edinburgh is already considered by many as a very liveable city. It’s a reason many people locate here, or choose to stay here. However, no city is perfect, and from our perspective a few key challenges going forward for the city will be:
How can local people become a bigger part of shaping the city?
How can we continue to make sure that local people, residents, visitors, businesses, and the full diversity of people who are present in the city, can genuinely have a stake in shaping Edinburgh and it’s built environment? How can we encourage the building of relationships and social connection, that make Edinburgh a pleasant, and vibrant place to be, that is inclusive of all communities and users, and gives people ownership over their neighbourhoods and local places?
How can we increase green space within and throughout the city?
We’re really lucky in that Edinburgh is one of the greenest cities in the UK. However, green space doesn’t just have to mean the big parks like The Meadows or Arthurs Seat. There are many benefits that result from increasing green space and greenery across the city at even the small scale. This connection to nature, and at the very local scale, in close proximity to where you live is really important. How can we go further, improving our public spaces by creating a better network of green space across the city? (Take a look at our City Garden project for an idea we are currently developing that we hope might help).
How can we improve public space to make the city easier and more convenient for walking and cycling?
Edinburgh is a relatively walkable city, but there are some accessibility issues in terms of uneven surfaces and some difficult traffic junctions to cross that can make it frustrating or intimidating to be a pedestrian in places. Perhaps even more of a challenge is encouraging more active travel within Edinburgh in terms of cycling. Edinburgh is a hilly city, however traffic, and lack of adequate provision for cyclists in places, is limiting this flourishing to the extent it could. Encouraging a better public space and street environment that reduces dominance of cars and helps provide better conditions for pedestrians and cyclists will not only help measures of liveability in terms of sustainable movement and accessibility, but also help create more vibrant attractive places that are designed at the human scale and result in more public life.
We believe all these challenges are able to be overcome, and together we can help make Edinburgh an even more liveable city.