Comment: Edinburgh does need to show its ambition

What would you do to improve Edinburgh?

Thursday, 19th January 2017, 11:23 am
Edinburgh's heritage is one of its great strengths

It’s a great question. More cycle lanes? Less cycle lanes? Tripling taxes on empty homes to help tackle the city’s affordable housing crisis?

The question sparked a great debate when it was posted on the social news and discussion website Reddit.

The contributions ranged from the sincere and deeply thought through to the bizarrely humorous. The suggestion of a separate lane on city centre street for people who are walking and texting might fall into either of those camps.

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There’s a serious side to it all. Right now there is an ongoing #edinburgh2050 debate about the future of the city in which we are all invited to take part.

Edinburgh is a fabulous city in which to live. We all know it - and countless surveys have reached the same conclusion. It is easy to reel off a list of some of the great things about living in the city - from its beautiful green spaces and wonderful old buildings to the relatively low crime rate and good job opportunities for our young people.

But it can and should get better. The efforts to improve the state of the city’s litter-strewn streets is just one example of where public debate has spurred action to make our lives better.

Where do you start? Everyone will have their own idea of priorities. But tackling the terrible poverty that still exists in this wealthy city and creating more affordable homes would be near the top of most people’s lists.

The city needs to make sure it gets the basics right, like filling pot holes, cleaning the streets and, for a city which relies on culture for its worldwide reputation, that includes finding ways to continue supporting the arts. It should also show some ambition - why can’t we, for instance, have a worldclass entertainment venue?