Picture the scene.
The Fringe is in full swing and the sun is shining. There is a buzz around the outdoor bars and cafes on George Street, as amid the bustling crowd friends soak up the atmosphere and swap tips on the latest must-see shows.
Or try another one. Families sitting on picnic rugs enjoying the old time magic of Singin’ in the Rain at the open air cinema in St Andrew Square Gardens. Or what about this one? Saturday morning browsing the Farmers’ Market on Castle Terrace, strong coffee and bacon roll in hand.
There is no doubt that the city centre has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. Spurred on by competition from out of town shopping centres (and Glasgow), it has had to reinvent itself - and as a result it has never been so colourful and vibrant. It is hard to imagine it now without all the events staged by Essential Edinburgh, the management company created by city centre businesses pooling their resources.
This approach, born out of businesses working together, means the city centre offers a shopping experience that is completely different to the convenience of the out-of-town complexes. And what’s more, it has done a pretty good job of keeping the streets clean.