MORNINGSIDE has emerged as the fittest and most cultured part of the city, according to a survey of residents across the Capital.
The council’s Edinburgh People Survey found Morningside had the highest proportion of people taking at least 30 minutes’ exercise five days a week, the most enthusiastic festival-goers and the biggest attenders of cinemas, theatres, museums, art galleries and concerts.
Overall, 30 per cent of Edinburgh residents said they took 30 minutes of exercise five days a week – down from 35 per cent in 2017 but still higher than in previous years.
In Morningside, 46 per cent said they took that much exercise and 42 per cent of people in Portobello/Craigmillar said the same. But in Pentland Hills and Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart the figure was just 21 per cent.
Some 78 per cent of people across the city had been to a cinema, theatre, art gallery, museum or concert in the past year. Morningside was way out ahead with 96 per cent saying they had attended one of these cultural venues or events. At the other end of the scale, the figure for Pentland Hills was 67 per cent.
Two-thirds of people in Edinburgh said they had attended a festival in the past two years – only slightly down from 67 per cent in 2017.
Morningside comfortably led the field with 82 per cent saying they had been to a festival. Leith Walk was next with 79 per cent and Inverleith on 77 per cent.
But when residents were asked if the festivals made Edinburgh a better place to live, Morningside was no longer top, with 76 per cent agreeing, while in Inverleith 82 per cent said the festivals made the city a better place to live and in Craigentinny/Duddingston 77 per cent said the same.
Morningside Green councillor Melanie Main attributed the high rate of exercise to the area’s well-used green spaces and its popularity for shopping, as well as an easy walk into town.
She said: “We have lovely green spaces – the Hermitage, Midmar Paddock, the Astley Ainslie, Braidburn Valley Park and the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links – and we have retained our high street, so that culture of walking and being outside is part of Morningside.”
And Councillor Main said good access to buses helped people satisfy their appetite for culture. “The buses go straight down Lothian Road past the King’s Theatre and cinemas and the bus will also take you straight to the museum. And if you’re out for the evening, at the Usher Hall say, you know you can get on a bus a get straight home. We’re so well served by public transport and it’s an easy walk too.”
But she said while Morningside people were enthusiastic about the festivals, they also understood the influx of such large numbers into the city could bring problems. “There is an awareness of Airbnb and the loss of domestic properties,” she said.
“And when the population doubles with the festivals, it’s often areas outside the centre which suffer from bins not being collected.”
Steve Gregory, chair of Morningside Community Council, said he did not go into the city centre at festival time. “The pavements are packed, it’s just too crowded,” he said. “Maybe other people feel the same – they enjoy going to a couple of things, but it makes the centre a bit of a no-go area unless you like crowds.”
Across the city 62 per cent said they were satisfied with the sports and leisure facilities run by Edinburgh Leisure – down from 68 per cent in 2017. Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart had the highest satisfaction rate at 74 per cent – despite being joint lowest for engaging in exercise.
Amy McNeese-Mechan, the city’s culture vice convener, said: “Edinburgh has a cultural scene to be proud of and we must continue to work to ensure that everyone has access to world class cultural provision.
“Our vibrant cultural heritage and festivals are at the heart of what makes Edinburgh unique. We are committed to supporting the sector’s continued creativity and success, through regular funding, the City Region Deal and Festivals Edinburgh, and by increasing funding available for local level events.”