Leader: Parklets will improve George Street

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IT gives a whole new meaning to the term grassroots movement.

Ten years ago a handful of imaginative community activists decided to reclaim a tiny bit of their city centre by feeding a parking meter with coins, unrolling some turf and popping down a tree in a pot. From tiny acorns, they say, mighty oaks grow. Well, that bit of “grassroots” activism spawned a worldwide movement, which arrives in Edinburgh today.

Parklets have now gone official and two will take their place in George Street over the summer months.

The idea, though, remains the same. Modern city centres can be busy, concrete jungles, with precious few places where you would wish to tarry, relax and enjoy – if you’re lucky enough – some sunshine. A bit of greenery, not only adds interest to a street, but offers another bit of space where people, rather than cars or buses, rule.

We are lucky in Edinburgh to be pretty spoilt with green spaces in the city centre, but this one will change the ambience on George Street over the coming months. The pair of temporary gardens are bound to be buzzing during the festivals and on the days before that where there is a bit of sunshine.

When it comes to attracting visitors – from within Edinburgh, from across Scotland and further afield – the city centre cannot afford to stand still.

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to how we spend our leisure time. There is always something new and different to do somewhere in the central belt. The city centre has to compete with not only Glasgow and out-of-town shopping complexes with multiscreen cinemas but days out seeing the kelpies or visiting a country park (the shopping can be done afterwards online).

The conversion of George Street into one of the focal points of the festivals has been one of the Capital’s great success stories of recent years. This promises to continue that.