Edinburgh aims to create 20-minute neighbourhoods

Edinburgh aims to create 20-minute neighbourhoods

Pioneer cities of the 20-minute neighbourhood include Paris and Melbourne

Pioneer cities of the 20-minute neighbourhood include Paris and Melbourne

Edinburgh wants to enable residents to meet their daily needs within 20 minutes of their homes by walking, using public transport, wheeling or cycling.


Based on an approach used worldwide, the 20-Minute Neighbourhood draft strategy aims to build a more sustainable place, improve public services, and build on the Scottish city’s powerful sense of local community.


Pioneer 20-minute cities


The concept has been pioneered by cities such as Paris and Melbourne before the pandemic but the global health crisis has highlighted even more strongly how important ‘liveable’ neighbourhoods are.


Edinburgh’s strategy seeks to find ways for residents to access most of their daily services provided by the council in a local, accessible and sustainable way, along with those delivered by partners in the public, voluntary and private sectors.


“Getting what you need in your community is about more than just having your services and amenities close at hand,” said council leader Adam McVey. “It’s also about empowering communities, fostering stronger partnership working at a local level and, where appropriate, delivering multiple services from standalone hubs.


“We know from our Capital Resident’s Survey that 58 per cent 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.

“We know from our Capital Resident’s Survey that 58 per cent of people agree it would make sense to have all public services delivered from one location”

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


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 which have gaps in their service provision and/or no natural town centre.


Each of the 19 areas in total has its own cultural identity and local heritage and it’ll be important to clearly articulate the differing role each neighbourhood plays socially, culturally and economically as the strategy progresses.


Focus areas


The draft strategy outlines that, if approved, the first areas of focus will be where the need is greatest, whether that’s because of deprivation, poor connectivity, or demographic issues. For example, we will:

  • maximise the opportunities created by new school investments at Liberton and Currie
  • work to deliver the new Pennywell Hub to provide a partnership between public and voluntary sectors
  • build on the community-led Local Place Planning work in Wester Hailes and Leith
  • work with the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership to combat loneliness and isolation, and build new networks of support and wellbeing
  • look at new schemes to improve the quality of place in some of our busiest and most traffic-dominated centres such as Niddrie Mains Road.

“The Edinburgh Climate Commission supports our work on 20-Minute Neighbourhoods as the heart of a sustainable community and it’s clear the plans also support our wider Business Plan priorities in terms of ending poverty, increasing wellbeing, tackling inequality and focusing on prevention,” said depute council leader Cammy Day.


“The strategy we’ll be considering at Committee sets out a new way of working with our communities and we know from the experience of finding new ways to deliver services during the pandemic that communities want to work with us to co-design services, so it’s an exciting opportunity for Edinburgh. We’ll be working on supporting and creating environments where businesses can thrive and residents’ needs are met, helping to create a vibrant atmosphere and local identity.”


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.


Potential locations for 20-Minute Neighbourhoods are: Corstorphine; Lochend /Restalrig; Ratho; Craigmillar/Bingham; Moredun/Gilmerton; South Queensferry; Currie/Balerno; Morningside/Bruntsfield; Stockbridge; Gorgie/Dalry; Muirhouse; Tollcross; Granton; Nicholson Street; Wester Hailes; Kirkliston; Oxgangs; Leith/Leith Walk; and Portobello.


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