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Review of Scotland's Cities - The Analysis


Review of Scotland's Cities - The Analysis


Since the inception of the Scottish Parliament, both Ministers and the Executive have recognised the need to think about Scotland, its communities, settlements and people in more complex ways. In particular, there is broad recognition of the need for a more nuanced understanding of the geographies and scales at which policies are played out on the ground in our neighbourhoods, cities and nation state. In developing strategies, in allocating resources and in delivering services, the Executive needs to have both a clear sense of how geography influences the functioning of our economy, society and environment, and knowledge of where Executive policies will impact.

This review is one of a number of inter-linked reviews within the Executive: the Review of Strategic Planning (2002), the Community Regeneration Statement (2002), and the Transport Delivery Plan (2002), that attempt to combine an appreciation of the functioning and well being of rural areas and of towns, as well as cities. Together they represent an update to our understanding of modern Scotland. They are not an end to the process, but the beginning of the development of spatially sensitive policy making. Devolution has provided an opportunity to put Scotland at the forefront of modern, integrated approaches to territorial management within the UK.

The Review of Scotland's Cities was first announced by the former First Minister in December 2000, and began in earnest in June 2001 when a project team was established, led by Professor Duncan MacLennan, Expert Adviser to Scottish Ministers, and staffed by members of the Scottish Executive Policy Unit.

The wide-ranging remit agreed for the review was:

"To review the current prospects for the economic, environmental and social development of our 5 cities; and to identify Executive policies which will improve those prospects, taking account of interactions between the cities, their surrounding areas and the rest of Scotland."

Initiated to address the challenges and opportunities faced by Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness in a co-ordinated and forward looking manner, it was born out of a recognition that Scotland's cities matter. While Stirling has recently become Scotland's sixth city, the analysis has not extended to the specific challenges there. Nonetheless, many of the conclusions will apply there too. Our cities hold the key to the achievement of the Executive's ambitions for Scotland. Cities are of course where most of Scotland's people live, and our policies need to be tailored to improve their opportunities and quality of life. Cities are crucial to each of our five objectives; health, education, crime, transport and jobs. Closing the gap and sustainability must be achieved in our cities, if they are to be delivered at all. This review is also timely, as urban issues have recently risen up the UK policy agenda; the publication of this review coincides with the UK Urban Summit.

Nonetheless, while this review covered a wide horizon, it had to be selective in the issues it covered. Its remit was to review economic, environmental and social developments. It therefore only covers other issues in a limited way. The health of our city dwellers deserves a review of its own, and is not covered in any detail.

Necessarily broad in remit, the review has been conducted in an open and consultative manner, involving several hundred external experts and stakeholders from the public, private and voluntary sectors. The review was led initially by Angus MacKay, Minister for Finance and Local Government, and then by Iain Gray, Minister for Social Justice. Margaret Curran has been the sponsor Minister since becoming Social Justice Minister in May 2002. Peter Peacock, Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Services, has supported the various lead Ministers throughout the process.

Cities Review Team
Professor Duncan Maclennan
John Dowie
Dr Susan Lilley
Neil Langhorn (until Aug 2002)
Beryl Crawford (until Dec 2001)

The consultative process has included:

  • a visit by the Review Team to each city;
  • a Ministerial visit to each city, including meetings with the City Partnerships and the City Chambers and afternoon seminars with wide ranges of local interests;
  • Two seminars on key issues affecting the cities, involving speakers from around the UK and participants from all of the cities. These included Cities as Places to Work (jointly hosted with Scottish Enterprise) in Dundee in October 2001 and Cities as Better Places to Live (jointly hosted with Communities Scotland) in Glasgow in December 2001.

Two consultative fora were established: a Sounding Board, comprising the 5 councils and a cross-section of private and voluntary sector interests, who helped guide the review; and an Academic Panel of urban experts to ensure that the review is founded on the best available evidence. The Sounding Board, chaired by the lead Minister, and the Academic Panel, chaired by Professor Maclennan, have met four times.

Following a consultative stage, which ended at the beginning of January, 2002, ten topics were identified for more focused work. These included: city-region governance; delivery vehicles; transport; residential choices; land markets; labour markets; capturing innovation flows; strengthening city centres; environmental sustainability and funding of the cities. These workstreams were taken forward in a variety of ways - some involving short-term cross-sector working groups, others focusing on one day seminars. Experts from outwith the Executive were closely involved in all of the workstreams.

Academic Panel
Professor Brian Ashcroft,
Fraser of Allander Institute/University of Strathclyde
Professor Liz Bondi, University of Edinburgh
Professor Glen Bramley, Edinburgh College of Art/Heriot-Watt University
Professor Nick Fyfe, University of Dundee
Professor Stuart Gulliver, University of Glasgow
Professor Cliff Hague, Edinburgh College of Art/Heriot-Watt University
George Hazel, MacLean Hazel
Professor Ade Kearns, University of Glasgow
Professor Greg Lloyd, University of Dundee
Colin Mair, University of Strathclyde
James McCormack, Scottish Council Foundation
Professor Alan McGregor, University of Glasgow
Dr John McKendrick, University of Edinburgh
Professor Peter Roberts, University of Dundee
Professor Michael Pacione, University of Strathclyde
Professor Ivan Turok, University of Glasgow
Dr Nick Williams, Housing and Environmental Consultant

This is the report of the Cities Review team and is not a statement of Scottish Executive policy. This report is published together with Building Better Cities, which sets out the Executive's strategy for tackling the emerging issues. This report sets out the evidence, the analysis and the challenges faced by Scotland's cities. It does not make a list of recommendations as such, but rather indicates a set of broad conclusions, which arise from the research and analysis, and thereby sets out the long-term policy issues for our cities. It represents a serious attempt to think seriously about the compelling issues that face our cities today and in the future.

Sounding Board
Bryan Beattie, Chairman, Eden Court Theatre
David Begg, Director of Centre for Transport, Robert Gordon University
Ann Clark, Head of Policy, Highland Council
Iain Dickson, Principal Architect, George Watt & Stewart
Rani Dhir, Director, Drumchapel Housing Co-operative
Matthew Farrow, Head of Policy, CBI Scotland
Mike Galloway, Director of Planning, Dundee City Council
Vincent Goodstadt, Structure Plan Manager, Glasgow & Clyde Valley Structure Plan Joint Committee
Stuart Gulliver, Professor of City Development, University of Glasgow
Stephen Inch, Depute Director Regeneration and Resources, Glasgow City Council
Alan Langlands, Principal, University of Dundee
Donald McGougan, Finance Director, City of Edinburgh Council
Lucy McTernan, Assistant Director, SCVO
Mike Scott, Director of Housing, Aberdeen City Council
Douglas Smith, Insignia Richard Ellis
Albert Tait, Acting Chief Executive, CoSLA
Eddie Thompson, Chief Executive, Morning Noon and Night
Lesley Thomson, Director, Liddell Thomson
Tracey White, Assistant Secretary, STUC
Raymond Young, Hon Senior Research Fellow, University of Glasgow
Alf Young, The Herald