Edinburgh eyes Melbourne-style approach to neighbourhoods


EDINBURGH councillors are to consider implementing a model which would ensure that all residents in the capital live within 20 minutes of council services.

The concept, dubbed 20-minute neighbourhoods, originated in Portland, Oregon, before taking off in Melbourne, Australia. It looks to ensure that residents can meet their daily needs without having to travel more than 20 minutes from their homes.

The City of Edinburgh Council’s draft strategy outlines that, if implemented, the first areas of focus will be where the need is greatest, with it identifying 19 areas of the capital which they deem to have gaps in their service provision and/or no natural town centre. It listed the following projects as likely first focus areas:

  • 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.

Council Leader Adam McVey said, “20-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% 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 carbon footprint of frontline services and making support easier to reach within walking distance.”

If approved, the council said that implementation of the strategy will begin immediately. It listed the following locations as being considered for becoming 20-minute neighbourhoods:

Lochend / Restalrig
Craigmillar / Bingham
South Queensferry
Morningside / Bruntsfield
Nicholson Street
Wester Hailes
Leith / Leith Walk