End poverty. Make everyone happier. Be the greenest and most beautiful city in the world.
There are some pretty bold ideas in the first draft of the City Vision of what Edinburgh wants to be in 2050. Is all that possible? Can it be achieved?
Well, you could make a case for Edinburgh already being in the frame to be the most beautiful city in the world. We have the architecture and the green space. A few improvements – perhaps a creative addition or two to the skyline, certainly cleaner streets – and we would have an even stronger claim.
The greenest city? We have the parks and gardens, plus a burgeoning tech sector making breakthroughs – including the humble compostable coffee cup – that help us lead more environmentally-friendly lives.
Eradicating poverty? That’s the toughest one yet – but why on earth not?
This is a city where opulent wealth exists cheek by jowl with poverty, where shoppers leaving the designer stores on Multrees Walk are watched by beggars in the street. It might sound naive and idealistic to suggest that we can wipe out in the next 30 years or so a problem which has plagued us for millennia, but no one can seriously argue that we can’t do much better than what we’ve achieved today.
Edinburgh is in many aspects a world-class city, in terms of architecture, history and science. It has the potential to be a global leader in other fields too, including being at the forefront of developing new technologies. It also has to be a city that works for the people who live here, whether they are the sons and daughters of dukes or dustmen.
A city that has so much going for it, that is packed with so much talent, has to be ambitious. Without setting our goals high we will not achieve anything much, never mind anything worthwhile.