Green Edinburgh: People, Place, Power

Edinburgh is a great city but needs a green future to match, argues Claire Miller

The term “PPP” has had a bad press in 2016.   Its longstanding use for “Public Private Partnership” for schools and hospitals came crashing down with the collapse of a wall at Oxgangs Primary School in January. An inquiry will tell us the damning detail in the next few months.

Last week, “PPP” was used in a different form. At the launch of a city vision exercise for Edinburgh in 2050, a new report ranked a selection of cities against “people, planet and profit”. Edinburgh scored highly on “profit”, much less well on “people” and “planet”, as decades of inequality, expensive housing and congested streets came home to roost.

So here in Edinburgh Greens we have our own version of “PPP”. Today we are launching some of our ideas for Edinburgh’s future under the themes of People, Place and Power. On our website, over the next two months, we are asking people in Edinburgh for feedback on what a green future looks like and how to get there. We will use that feedback to develop the Green manifesto for the 2017 elections (in which I hope, personally, to be one of a much larger group of Green councillors).

That is a green future which there is much more community ownership and use of public space; where green space is treasured; and where basic standards of street cleanliness are upheld.

It is a city which uses planning powers to guarantee local services like shops, parks, schools and health centres and which shifts the balance towards people making positive choices on public transport, walking and cycling.

It is an economy which gives the dignity of a Living Wage to all; which sees small businesses and social enterprises as the real backbone of a working capital; and which builds on our universities and thriving creative and high-tech companies.

It is a city which offers housing justice: driving down housing costs and ending fuel poverty and homelessness. With more homes, not more hotels.

It is a capital which prides itself on making better use of its own natural wealth: powering the city through clean, green energy and harvesting the rich food culture of South East Scotland.

And it is a future which welcomes people of all backgrounds: an open city, where people who live here are much more involved in the decisions which affect where they live and the services they use.

The Edinburgh 2050 vision project is both welcome and important. A shared view of the decades ahead is long overdue. And it is a green future.

But that future need not wait until 2050.

It starts now.