European City of the Year

The Academy of Urbanism, a group set up to encourage debate about how to improve city life, has given the ‘urban Oscar’ to Edinburgh as the nicest city in Europe to live in. As a resident I’m not convinced it is the best city in Europe to live in; the award talks of the balance of old and new, the culture and other facts but, like tourist books, ignores the other side, such as the post-war ‘overspill’ schemes like Wester Hailes or Craigmillar. They like to pretend places like that occur in ‘rough’ towns like Glasgow, not in genteel Edinburgh (on which subject, thank you Channel 4 news this week for using a montage of scenes to re-enforce the negative, stereotypical image of Glasgow, all tower blocks and run-down docks, not a single glimpse of the rows of gorgeous Georgian town houses, art galleries, parks…). Those gripes aside though, it is (apart from those not so salubrious areas the tourists don’t see) one of the most beautiful cities and it is (to me, anyway) easy to see why it would beat rivals like London. Plus the pubs and the ale here are much nicer.