Edinburgh and Glasgow will eventually merge together to form one mega-city, a leading academic has claimed.
Professor Roy Thompson of Edinburgh University has said he expects Scotland’s two largest cities to amalgamate within the next few decades.
The academic carried out an analysis using modern satellite imagery. He concluded the gaps between Edinburgh and Glasgow were steadily shrinking.
Professor Thompson has claimed the merging of the cities is inevitable and could happen within the next 30 to 50 years. His work is based on a prediction concocted in the 1920s by urban planner Sir Patrick Geddes.
Sir Patrick pictured a Central Belt called ‘Clydeforth’ that would have Edinburgh and Glasgow eventually merging together to form one city. Prof Thompson said: “That amalgamation and transformation didn’t happen in Geddes’ lifetime, but I feel with the current round of urban sprawl it will soon be upon us.
“I’ve been looking at satellite data to see how large the urban and suburban areas now are. I was astonished by how good a prediction Geddes made a long time ago.
“If you look at his sketch map of what urbanisation would look like, it seems to be absolutely spot on.
“Glasgow was the second city of the Empire and was growing tremendously. He made his prediction just as that came to an end, so it never happened in his lifetime. But it looks to me that it’s very close. There are all these extra villages now that never used to be there – and they’re all joining up.”
Places such as Winchburgh in the Central Belt are home to major new residential developments.
Prof Thompson said: “I’ve walked hundreds of miles through the Lothians and observed how much is changing every time I go back ... one of the walks I lead is along the River Almond, which runs through Livingston, Kirkliston and Winchburgh. You can see how they have begun to come together.”
One man who hopes Mr Geddes’ vision does not become a reality is MSP Graham Simpson. The Tory housing spokesman said: “The planning system needs to deliver more homes and new towns, but the last thing we’d want is a massive urban sprawl stretching 50 miles.”
A Scottish Government spokesman insisted there were “no plans” for the two cities to fuse together. “Edinburgh and Glasgow are great cities in their own right and through our city region deals we are working with all our cities to unlock investment and stimulate sustainable growth,” the spokesman said.
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