Like all cities, the Old Town of Edinburgh is liable to change and development on an on-going basis, but what kind of change best suits the needs of that place, and who should be involved in shaping that change? In August 2011 the Trust drafted some criteria for development in the Old Town, which are published below. If you have any comments on these criteria, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Diverse, balanced, mixed and exemplary

1 The old town is a DIVERSE neighbourhood, not a museum:

A fine-grained diversity of building uses is essential. Both the historic fabric and new development should be occupied with homes, businesses, shops and leisure uses, existing side-by-side with civic buildings and landmarks, and a rich, mixed and stable resident population and workforce. Diversity is achieved primarily through smaller plot divisions resulting in complexity of ownerships and buildings with multiple uses that can be adapted for different uses over time. New single-use, large footprint buildings that are incapable of being adapted should always be avoided.

2 BALANCE between city promotion and local residents is needed:

Currently the Old Town is exploited for tourism and leisure uses for the economic benefit of the city as a whole, without a balancing consideration for the needs of residents. A residential community can only be stable if it has the facilities it needs – local shops and services, some accessible pockets of greenery in the densely built-up area, the chance to escape from 24 hour party-going. A ‘neighbourhood plan’ should be developed with community and stakeholder involvement (following the lines of the charrettes currently underway in the preparation of the Central Southern Arc Development Framework). The council should make available resources to community groups to facilitate the articulation of community needs.

3 A stable & MIXED residential community is vital:

There is a need to increase the range and quality of affordable housing. Affordable family housing should be prioritised, as should rental accommodation. There should be clarity about the definition of affordable housing. Only developments which demonstrate they are adding to the neighbourhood mix should be permitted. This will require mapping the housing mix currently available.

4 EXEMPLARY & ambitious developments and buildings:

Any development must exemplify the City Council’s aspiration to be the ‘most sustainable small city in northern Europe’, based on a stable steady-state economy. It means aiming to reduce reliance on consumption and continued resource depletion, and to meet the Scottish government’s ambitious carbon reduction targets. The Old Town provides an inspiring setting which could form an exemplary European model for the future redevelopment of existing urban areas.