Edinburgh at risk of being 'clone city', says Charles
THE Prince of Wales has warned that the Scottish capital is at risk from becoming a "clone" city and losing its status as a beacon of excellence if it does not seek to address "shortsighted commercialism".
Speaking at a conference organised by Edinburgh World Heritage, the prince urged developers and conservation bodies to work together to soften the impact of new buildings on the city's historic heritage.
"There is a real and present risk that, in the drive to make Edinburgh a world city in the commercial sense, we make it more and more like just any other city in the world, and in so doing, diminish its status as a beacon of excellence in architecture and urbanism and indeed enlightenment," said Prince Charles.
However, he also stressed it would be a mistake to erect a "cordon sanitaire" around the city centre and retreat within it.
The capital, he said, should be regarded as a model for new development elsewhere, not just in Scotland, but across the world, from the US to Russia.
"Edinburgh is a living organism, in a constant, dynamic process of sustenance, renewal and occasionally rejection," Prince Charles said at the gathering celebrating the city's tenth anniversary since acquiring World Heritage status.
"The handsome cohesiveness of its terraces, without monotony, is to be contrasted to the cloned houses that we are today churning out like sausages in great volumes.
"The city is facing some of the pressures of development that it faced in the past, and it can only be hoped that such high ambitions will prevail over shortsighted commercialism in the newer parts of Edinburgh."
Quoting Edinburgh's planning pioneer, Patrick Geddes, the prince said "town planning must be folk planning".
"Tradition, in truth, is not about style. It is about learning from the best of what has gone before."
The prince argued that Scotland should be interested as an "interconnected whole", as other towns and cities in the country face similar challenges.
"Glasgow, perhaps Corinth to Edinburgh's Athens, with its own distinctive urbanism and architectural masterpieces, should not be seen in rivalry to Edinburgh, but as two hands of the same being, performing different roles at times, perhaps, but ultimately pulling together," he added.
The three-day Inspiring Cities conference, which started yesterday, has brought together conservationists, architects, developers and environmentalists from across Europe to discuss the challenge of new development in historic cities.
Zoe Clark, the director of Edinburgh World Heritage, said: "We are delighted that His Royal Highness agreed to speak at the conference and very excited about this opportunity to showcase Edinburgh on the world stage.
Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cornwall spoke of her mother's painful experience of osteoporosis, as she officially opened a scanning facility to treat the condition. She and Prince Charles were in the Borders for a tour of Borders General Hospital in Melrose, which contains a new DEX scanner.
Charles on ...
Edinburgh/ Glasgow rivalry
"Glasgow, perhaps Corinth to Edinburgh's Athens, should not be seen in rivalry ... but as two hands of the same being, ultimately pulling together"
The New Town
"It shows that a positive framework for development or design code can channel creativity of many different architects towards an overall sense of harmony"
"I feel a new consensus emerging in Scotland. It requires we build again the types of places that convey an everlasting human story of meaning and belonging"
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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