Councillors to consider 20-minute neighbourhoods strategy for Edinburgh as Covid-19 pandemic changes how we live and work

Councillors will this week consider a strategy for Edinburgh residents to meet their daily needs within 20 minutes of their homes by walking, cycling or taking public transport.

By Jamie McKenzie
Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 4:55 am

The concept of 20-minute neighbourhoods has been adopted by other global cities such as Paris and Melbourne. The idea is people become more active and improve their physical and mental health while traffic is reduced, air quality improves, local shops and businesses thrive and community bonds are strengthened.

The Covid-19 pandemic has placed even more spotlight on the concept as more people have been working from home.

On Thursday this week, members of the Policy and Sustainability Committee will consider a strategy for these types of neighbourhoods in Edinburgh

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A strategy has been developed to find ways for Edinburgh residents to meet their daily needs within 20 minutes of their homes by walking, using public transport, wheeling or cycling.

The emerging City Plan 2030 identified eight town centres as starting points and further work identified 11 more areas to prioritise as they are areas with gaps in service provision and/ or no natural town centre.

The potential locations for 20-minute neighbourhoods in Edinburgh are:


Lochend / Restalrig


Craigmillar / Bingham


South Queensferry


Morningside / Bruntsfield






Nicholson Street

Wester Hailes



Leith / Leith Walk


The draft strategy outlines that, if approved, the first areas of focus will be where the need is greatest - be it due to deprivation, poor connectivity or demographic issues.

For example, the council says they will work to deliver the new Pennywell Hub to provide a partnership between public and voluntary sectors, and build on community-led local place planning work in Wester Hailes and Leith.

Council Leader Adam McVey said: “Twenty-minute Neighbourhoods are about helping local people access the services they need, where and when they need them.

“Getting what you need in your community is about more than just having your services and amenities close at hand. It’s also about empowering communities, fostering stronger partnership working at a local level and, where appropriate, delivering multiple services from stand-alone ‘hubs’. We know from our Capital Resident’s Survey that 58 percent of people agree it would make sense to have all public services delivered from one location. We also know this can be a more efficient way of organisations working within our communities and getting better outcomes for our residents.

“Crucially, building thriving local neighbourhoods will not only boost quality of life and residents’ wellbeing but it will also be greener by cutting the carbon footprint of frontline services and making support easier to reach within walking distance.”

If approved, implementation of the strategy will begin immediately. While the delivery of the strategy will be an ongoing programme of work, a detailed implementation plan will be developed, based on the ‘inform, engage, reflect and deliver’ model.

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