The City of Edinburgh Council has called on University of St Andrews management experts to develop a vision for Scotland’s capital city in 2020.
Following a consultation exercise carried out by the local authority, Professor Peter McKiernan and colleagues within the Department of Management have been selected to conduct a six month study which will result in the publication of a small number of development scenarios for the city region.
It is intended that, following publication of these scenarios, a wider debate will take place to identify the final agreed vision for Edinburgh city region. It is the Council’s intention to link this work with the call for a “city vision¿ in the recently published Cities Review. This vision will then be used as a catalyst to inform the strategies and, more importantly, actions of key organisations in both the public and private sectors in a co- ordinated way to deliver the key strategic themes contained in the vision.
The University of St Andrews will be assisted by a Technical Working Group that will be chaired by Andrew Holmes, Director of City Development. The project will be formally launched at the first meeting of the Working Group tomorrow (7 March 2003). This Group will be supported by a Technical Advisory Panel of high- profile individuals, including Lord Stewart Sutherland, former Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh.
Professor McKiernan said, “Edinburgh presently has a number of initiatives underway that will deliver a range of benefits for the city but they are unconnected. This is problematic. Scenario planning will bring people together from a range of organisations that will enable one complete set of visions to be developed for Edinburgh. This is absolutely critical.
“The use of forecasting is important in the short-term as it reinforces our view about the world around us. Difficulties arise in the longer-term as forecasting becomes less accurate. This is where scenario planning comes into its own.
“One of the main benefits of the use of scenarios is their ability to test strategies and policies against a variety of different futures. Too many strategies are developed in isolation of future conditions and too many of them have a short-term focus. Scenarios help to assess the ability of strategies to cope under different, emergent conditions and deep futures. They test them for robustness and flexibility and make a critical assessment of the base resources required to deal with any future that evolves. A further resource allocation can then be made dependent upon the vision chosen within the different, competing future states. “The recently published Cities Review noted that Edinburgh does not function in isolation from other towns and cities. It demonstrated that the rapid economic development of Edinburgh has impacted on a range of other areas including Fife and the Scottish Borders in terms of housing and transport. At the same time, the influence of Edinburgh is felt strongly westwards towards Glasgow (and vice versa).
“This means that we may well need to develop, in future studies, a range of scenarios for Central Scotland that will require Edinburgh and Glasgow to come together and develop joint scenarios. As unthinkable as this was only a few years ago, the time is shortly about to arrive when this will need to happen for Scotland’s sake”.
Meanwhile, Councillor Lezley M Cameron, Executive Member, Economic Development, who will be involved in the political input to the process, said, “Edinburgh has experienced phenomenal economic change in recent years. Falling unemployment and an ever- increasing demand for labour has led to a dramatic increase in the city’s travel to work area. This has subsequently placed immense pressure on our transport infrastructure and the supply of affordable housing within Edinburgh and the Lothians. We now need to better understand the key sectors of the city’s economy to ensure that Edinburgh and the Lothians makes best use of its resources and accommodates additional growth in a sustainable way.
“The scenario planning process will explore, in depth, the critical uncertainties that will influence the Edinburgh region over the next 20 years such as global and national economic performances, competition from other cities, political developments and changes to our demographic profile. The strategic planning exercise that we are undertaking with St Andrews University will enable us to develop a range of appropriate policies to tackle these key issues and enable us to make real progress towards an agreed vision for the city.”
Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian have made a significant funding contribution to the exercise. David Crichton, Chief Executive and a key member of the Technical Working Group said, “The importance of our cities to the economic success of Scotland has been recognised most recently by the Scottish Executive in its review ‘Building Better Cities’. The city region of Edinburgh is one of the main engines of our economy and sustaining its long- term growth must be a priority. The scenario planning exercise will help us achieve that objective. It is an approach we welcome and support.” ENDS
NOTE TO EDITORS
Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact: Claire Grainger on 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email cg24@st- andrews.ac.uk View University press releases on- line at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: scenario- 2003/standrews/chg/6march2003
Peter MacLennan, Media and Communications Officer, The City of Edinburgh Council on 0131 529 4452
Notes from The City of Edinburgh Council
1. The need to undertake a scenario planning exercise for the city was identified during a consultation programme with senior executives from the key sectors of the city’s economy carried out by City Development staff during September to December 2001.
2. The key sector’s of the city’s economy were identified as: Finance, Retail, Tourism, Biotechnology, Further and Higher Education, Industrial and Commercial Property and Creative Industries.
3. The “Report into the Key Sectors of Edinburgh’s Economy¿ is available in the Research Section at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/capitalreview
4. The 3 most important issues/challenges facing Edinburgh in the medium to long-term were identified, in order of importance, as follows: Transport, Labour and Accommodation (especially private housing).
5. On the basis of the issues raised and high level of interest expressed during the consultation programme, the Council considers that a scenario planing exercise is required to ensure that the economic growth and prosperity that the city has benefited from over the past 15 to 20 years is secured for the next 15 to 20 years.
6. Professor Peter McKiernan is Professor of Management at the University of St Andrews and Visiting Professor of Strategic Management at the Universities of Warwick and Strathclyde. He led the work for Scenarios for Scotland – A Journey to 2015, a broadly scoped project that focussed on issues of the national character and psyche, social unity, political progress and economic prosperity.
7. The University of St Andrews has specialised in researching and undertaking scenario work for the past 15 years. It has completed approximately 100 scenario assignments for both public and private sector organisations, including Scottish Enterprise, BAA, Marks and Spencer, Fife Council, Grampian, States of Jersey, Jaguar Cars, Scottish Equitable, Tees Valley etc.
8. The members of the Technical Steering Group include: David Crichton, Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian; Andrew Holmes, The City of Edinburgh Council; Neil Johnstone, Halcrow; Ray Macfarlane, HBOS; Fiona Moriarty, Scottish Retail Consortium; Jack Munro, Edinburgh and Lothians Tourist Board; Dr Lucy O’Carroll, The Royal Bank of Scotland; Dr Mark Robertson, Ryden; Jackie Sansbury, Lothian Health Board; Alistair Shaw, West Lothian Council and Judy Waterman, Scottish Financial Enterprise.
9. The members of the Technical Advisory Panel include: Lord Sutherland, Bill Furness, Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce; Andrew Harris, Scottish Executive, John Henderson, Scottish Executive; Martyn Rendell, Communities Scotland; Brian Simpson, East Lothian Council; Terry Smith, Forth Ports plc; Ben Thomson, Noble Group and Ian L Young, Midlothian Council.
10. The project is being funded by The City of Edinburgh Council in partnership with Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian, Lothian Health Board, Scottish Financial Enterprise, West Lothian Council, Midlothian Council and East Lothian Council.Public interest stories