100 Years of Planning in Edinburgh

To mark the centenary of the Royal Town Planning Institute, Councillor Ian Perry today launched the 100 Years of Planning in Edinburgh exhibition.  The exhibition has been prepared by the Council’s Planning and Building Standards Service and was launched in the Urban Room at Waverley Court.

The exhibition will be touring the city and you can view it at the following locations/dates:

100 Years of Planning in Edinburgh exhibition launch

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Town Planning

The term ‘Town Planning’ and its statutory practice go back as far as the Housing, Town Planning, etc Act 1909, which was the first Act of its kind that allowed councils to prepare plans for new development.

In July 1913, a provisional organising committee was established in London and an invitation was sent to potential members to join a ‘Town Planning Institute’.  A first meeting was held in November 1913 and was chaired by Thomas Adams who on the 13th March 1914 became the first elected president of the Institute.  Today, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has 22,000 members nationally.

Planning in Edinburgh

The exhibition traces the history of town planning in Edinburgh over the last 100 years and highlights the landmark issues that faced planning through the decades.  Edinburgh was of course, at the forefront of town planning many years before the establishment of the Royal Town Planning Institute.  The New Town of Edinburgh, built between 1765 and 1850, is considered to be a masterpiece of city planning and, along with the Old Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A personality who made a significant contribution in each decade is highlighted in the exhibition and includes:

• 1920s Sir Patrick Geddes – Edinburgh is fortunate to be so closely associated with Geddes, the father of modern town planning

• 1950s Cllr Pat Rogan – Chair of the city’s housing committee and a prominent campaigner for improving slum housing

The exhibition provides an insight into the changes in the city over the last hundred years and presents the opportunity to learn lessons from the past.  As Edinburgh adapts to the changing social and economic conditions of the future, Sir Patrick Geddes’ concept of ‘Conservative Surgery’, keeping the best from the past whilst improving the environment of the city for the future, will remain an important consideration for planning.

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