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smalltown boy
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, this subject doesn't seem like it's going to go away soon, and it's inspired a lot of debate on the Edinburgh Development thread. Anyway, from today's Scotsman:

City 'nothing to fear from Unesco threat' says design guru

Published Date: 03 September 2008
By BRIAN FERGUSON

EDINBURGH'S controversial design champion has intervened for the first time in the debate over the capital's world heritage status – insisting the city has "nothing to fear" from a Unesco investigation.
Sir Terry Farrell said he was "relaxed" about the massive Caltongate and Haymarket developments recently given the go-ahead by the city council, despite fears they will see Edinburgh stripped of its title.

With one leading architect branding Unesco the "conservation mafia" and another dubbing the city heritage group the Cockburn Association "toxic", Sir Terry has pleaded for calm.

But he expressed growing concerns about how Princes Street will look once trams are introduced and urged the Scottish Government to review the case for extra funding, it being ruled out only last week.

Sir Terry has called for a complete traffic ban from the thoroughfare, other than trams, and three major pedestrian-friendly areas – at the West End, the foot of The Mound and outside the Balmoral Hotel – to help transform Princes Street.

The appointment of Sir Terry, the masterplanner for Edinburgh's financial district, was unveiled four years ago by the council, but he has been criticised for a lack of achievement in the role.

Malcolm Fraser, one of the Caltongate architects, has accused Sir Terry of fronting a "design leadership circus". Mr Fraser said: "Without power or a defined role, Farrell and Ricardo Marini (Sir Terry's deputy] resort to grandstanding their design leadership status, adding to our confusion and leaving practices like mine unable to point to a single positive outcome."

Mr Fraser accused the Cockburn Association of leading a "toxic" wing of the heritage lobby in the city, adding: "There are significant sections (of the lobby] that forget it is architects and mastermasons, and not them, that have led the conception of adornment of this breathtaking city."

Meanwhile Richard Murphy, who has designed the 17-storey hotel at Haymarket, turned the temperature up even further. Referring to the recent visit of Unesco director-general, Koichiro Matsuura, Mr Murphy branded his organisation a "conservation mafia", adding: "I suspect that this whole Unesco relationship is a cosy little club."

However Sir Terry has defended the architects insisting Edinburgh should not be too concerned about the forthcoming visit by Unesco inspectors.

He said: "They're looking at Edinburgh as they would any other capital city. We have nothing to fear. We have good architects working in the city and I'm relaxed about the developments that have been approved. It has to be taken in context. Edinburgh is a living, working city."
 

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Thinking pink.
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Thought that this was an interesting piece at edinburgharchitecure. Who is Paul Tanner?
 

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AirGlasgow.com
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SkyscraperCity > European Forums > UK & Ireland Architecture Forums > Projects and Construction > Glasgow Metro Area :nuts:
 

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Use your words
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SkyscraperCity > European Forums > UK & Ireland Architecture Forums > Projects and Construction > Glasgow Metro Area :nuts:
I think Edinburgh's a town within the Glasgow Metro Area, mate.







Just joshing, macc - I'm a fan of the place!
 

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smalltown boy
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Discussion Starter #5
SkyscraperCity > European Forums > UK & Ireland Architecture Forums > Projects and Construction > Glasgow Metro Area :nuts:
Forums are being reorganised soon anyway. But in future, when you have nothing useful or interesting to say, how about trying to say nothing at all?
 

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AirGlasgow.com
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Forums are being reorganised soon anyway. But in future, when you have nothing useful or interesting to say, how about trying to say nothing at all?
Post something on-topic for a GLASGOW forum then :bash:
 

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control yourself
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GM, get over it. The Glasgow forum started as a single thread in the City Talk section, the Edinburgh sub forum will start as a series of threads in the Glasgow forum.

Just. Fucking. Deal. With. It.
 

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smalltown boy
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Discussion Starter #8
UN threatens to act against Britain for failure to protect heritage sites
· Unesco may put buildings on endangered list
· New legislation to address concerns, say ministers

* Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent
* The Guardian,
* Monday September 8 2008
* Article history


Stonehenge


The UN is threatening to put the Tower of London on its list of world heritage sites in danger after its experts accused the UK of damaging globally significant sites such as Stonehenge, the old town of Edinburgh and the Georgian centre of Bath, the Guardian has learned.

Unesco, the UN's cultural agency, has told ministers in London and Edinburgh that it wants urgent action to protect seven world heritage sites which it claims are in danger from building developments, and said in some cases the UK is ignoring its legal obligations to protect them.

Their complaints range from decisions to approve new tower blocks in central London, such as the 66-storey "shard of glass" at London Bridge, to the failure to relocate the A344 beside Stonehenge despite promising action for 22 years, to a proposed wind farm which threatens neolithic sites on Orkney.

For all seven sites, it has asked the UK to write detailed progress reports replying to its concerns by February.

Unesco's world heritage centre in Paris is also sending two teams of inspectors to Edinburgh and Bath this winter to investigate its concerns that new buildings in both cities will damage their "integrity" and their "outstanding universal value."

In its strongest criticism, Unesco's world heritage committee has said it "deeply regrets" the decision by Edinburgh city council to press ahead with a hotel, housing and offices development called Caltongate next to the Royal Mile, despite expert evidence it will ruin the medieval old town's unique form.

In the committee's final report after its annual meeting in July in Quebec, which has just been released, it also accuses the UK of breaching world heritage site guidelines by failing to warn it in advance about the Caltongate scheme. Last month, Koichiro Matsuura, Unesco's director general, told the Scotsman there was growing concern about Edinburgh. "It is crucial that its outstanding features are preserved and protected," he said.

Leading architects and conservationists, including Sir Terry Farrell and Marcus Binney, chairman of Save Britain's Heritage, have said they share Unesco's anxieties. Farrell, appointed Edinburgh's "design champion", told the Guardian the city urgently needed a proper urban design masterplan. "I'm very supportive of Unesco's position," he said.

Binney said: "Heritage has taken a back seat to Cool Britannia and encouraging everything modern, and we're now uncomfortably in the limelight for failing to have proper policies to protect our world heritage sites, and timely criticisms are now being made."
....continues at the Guardian.

But really - Skara Brae is threatened because you might be able to (just) see a windfarm from it? I assume there are other man made features in the landscape built in the last 4,000 as well. And what "expert evidence" is there that Caltongate will "will ruin the medieval old town's unique form." I'm as cynical as to the merits of Caltongate as anyone, but the idea that it destroys the whole nature of the Old Town is patent nonsense.
 

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smalltown boy
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Discussion Starter #9
The end of heritage?
By Vicky Allan
Edinburgh may have retained its World Heritage status, following the visit of two Unesco inspectors last week to assess whether the city was still worthy of the title.

EDINBURGH MAY have retained its World Heritage status, following the visit of two Unesco inspectors last week to assess whether the city was still worthy of the title. Their trip came in the light of a number of planned new developments - including Haymarket, Caltongate, Leith Docks and the St James Centre - and has led to soul-searching about the future direction of our capital city. Debate has raged over whether World Heritage status is desirable, or if it is a hindrance to development. Meanwhile, it has become clear that there is an intensity of feeling around the way the city is changing, often expressed most vocally by the people who live in those areas. Is this a rash of Edinburgh nimbyism? Or is it, in fact, the case that it is those who live in a place who care about it most; that they are the ones who are most likely to notice and object to any unwanted arrival in their backyard? Three development protesters present their case to Vicky Allan.

Caltongate: Sally Richardson points to a bag of plastic rubbish assembled for the recycling bins. "Sometimes, I wonder why I do this. We're telling our children to recycle, and yet they've got to see listed buildings in their neighbourhood be knocked down."

She is referring to a series of buildings on the Royal Mile, including the C-listed Sailor's Ark and the Canongate Venture school, which are due to be demolished to make way for a development of offices, leisure facilities and a hotel, known as Caltongate.

Richardson points out a non-listed tenement, designed by EJ MacRae, whose windows are dark and lifeless. "They're being let to go to wrack and ruin. How many tenancies are empty in there, and how many people are on the waiting list in Edinburgh? You could wash those windows and paint them and that building would look as good as the day that it was built 70 years ago."
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For the past four years, Richardson has devoted around 15 hours a week to the Save Our Old Town campaign. She had not been looking for a cause like this, when, in 2004, she joined the local community council, hoping to find something to keep her brain ticking over while looking after two children.

Nor did she have any idea how all-consuming it would become, when, while hanging washing, she mentioned the development to neighbour and town planner, Julie Logan, saying, "We really need somebody to look at this plan. I think it's going to be enormous, and it's for the Canongate."
...continues at the Sunday Herald. Somewhat one sided, hey? And only one of the schemes they talk about (Caltongate) is even in the World Heritage site, with Leith Docks being way way way outside it.
 

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smalltown boy
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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah, it is. I meant of the three schemes they actually wrote about - Caltongate, Haymarket and Leith Docks.
 

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smalltown boy
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Discussion Starter #12
So it goes

Noticed this in yesterday's Grauniad:

Bridge takes Dresden off Unesco world heritage list
Kate Connolly and agencies in Berlin
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 25 June 2009 20.30 BST
Article history

Dresden was today removed from Unesco's list of World Heritage Sites because of the construction of a four-lane bridge across the river Elbe just over a mile from the city's historic centre.

The Dresden Elbe valley won heritage status in 2004 for its 12-mile stretch of landscape, which incorporates the city centre and features baroque palaces, churches, opera houses and museums.

The city has been on Unesco's "red" list for three years because of the bridge.

Conservationists say that the four-lane Waldschlösschenbrücke would be a blot on the unique Elbe valley and is sited in a particularly sensitive spot, near the old city, from where it could be seen.

Yesterday's decision came at a meeting in Seville of the World Heritage Committee. "Every time we fail to preserve a site, we share the pain of the state party," said María Jesús San Segundo, the ambassador and Spain's delegate to Unesco.

Walter Hirche, president of the German commission for Unesco, said: "Unfortunately, the decision is not completely surprising. I would have wished for more openness on both sides for a change to the bridge plans."

Construction of the bridge began in 2007. Supporters of the project say it is essential to reduce traffic congestion. An alternative plan for a tunnel was rejected for cost reasons.

Dresden, which was a prominent stop on Barack Obama's recent visit to Europe, paid little heed to various ultimatums from Unesco. In a survey of residents 57% said Dresden could do without the Unesco title. But loss of heritage status could have a detrimental effect on the area's tourism, and the city has already been excluded from a €150m (£128m) government fund for German Unesco sites.

Germany now faces the embarrassment of being the first European country to lose a heritage site and only the second in the world. Oman was struck from the list after reducing the size of its Oryx Antelope Sanctuary by 90%, causing a drastic decline in the antelope population.
 

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Yes, the (really very nasty) bridge is deemed to seriously damage the Outstanding Universal Value of the Elbe Valley for which the site was inscribed. Seems Germany has reneged on the promise made when it joined UNESCO to preserve the site for all of humanity. It has had a great deal of warning, and now, sadly for all, the site is being irreversibly damaged.

UNESCO tried to get a tunnel built instead, but was ignored. Dresden has been on the danger list for a while.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/522/


Edinburgh should be discussed in the next day or so. Reports so far suggest that there is a great deal of criticism of proposed developments in Edinburgh, basically because they are bad.

Parts of the report have been leaked to the press, and the Murphy Haymarket Tower was called in for a public inquiry. UNESCO's report on that was released for the inquiry. Basically, as it's right next to the World Heritage Site and will be totally out of scale with it, messing up the skyline, it's a problem.

Local residents don't want to be overshadowed by it either.

Caltongate is criticised, although as Mountgrange has collapsed that's not likely to go ahead anyhow, the proposed (although not in any seriousness) St James' Centre tower was dropped from the plans long ago.

Note for Allan Murray supporters, his Hotel Missoni seems to be attracting interest in Building Design's Carbuncle Award entries 2009.
 

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£€$$ is more
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Sometimes surly it is important these things are added or the city will no longer function as a city. Unesco can often do as much harm as good. Simply look at Venice it is dying on it's feet as a working city. I say well done Dresden for having the balls to make decisions for themselves!
 

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I think that really you haven't understood the situation.

It's not balls to to ruin something which you signed up to preserve for the world. There were alternatives.

There's a great deal of misunderstanding about UNESCO, rubbish spouted about it which is wildy inaccurate.

Here's some background to Dresden http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/05/opinion/05iht-edblobel.html?_r=2 from the NYT.


Save the Dresden Elbe Valley

GÜNTER BLOBEL

Published: June 4, 2009

The Dresden Elbe Valley is likely to be deleted from the list of World Cultural Heritage sites at the annual meeting of the World Cultural Heritage Committee of Unesco on June 23.

This is due to the construction of a huge four-lane highway bridge that bisects the Elbe Valley site at its most sensitive position, thereby destroying one of Europe’s last river landscapes.

Ultimately responsible for this impending calamity is Chancellor Angela Merkel herself. As chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union she failed to correct the misguided politics of her party colleagues in Dresden, the capital of the federal state of Saxony. She did not publicly oppose their numerous provocations of Unesco. And with her assertion that this is a “regional” problem, she has ignored Germany’s contractual obligations to Unesco.

Here is a short synopsis of this conflict. In 2004, after application by Saxony and the German federal government, Unesco granted the title “World Cultural Heritage Site” to a stretch of the Elbe Valley in which Dresden is located. This is a beautifully conserved natural setting of a meandering river surrounded by wide meadows and gentle hills that are dotted with culturally significant, centuries-old villas and castles that survived the ravages of World War II.

In 2005, the German Automobile Club, together with the Dresden branch of the Christian Democratic party, instigated a plebiscite. Through a campaign of misinformation, this coalition managed to obtain a majority of votes for the construction of a highway bridge in the midst of the World Cultural Heritage site.

Armed with this vote and thereby legally enabled to bypass opposition of the Dresden city council, the CDU governor of Saxony set out to build the bridge. In 2007, Unesco responded with a warning by putting the Dresden Elbe Valley on the Red List of Endangered World Cultural Heritage sites. But the governor-led coalition began construction of the bridge to create facts on the ground.

Unesco had no choice but to put the site on a Reinforced Red List in 2008. Unesco indicated that the Cultural Heritage designation would be taken away in 2009 if construction of the bridge was not halted. But the construction continues unabated. I have written two letters of protest, to which I received a standardized answer from the department of cultural affairs that this is a regional issue.

What is at stake? After the near total destruction of Dresden in the Allied fire-bombing of February 1945, few people believed that its beauty would ever return. Dresden’s slow but steady comeback was thus met with great relief. Eventually, most of the great buildings were rebuilt, culminating in 2005 with the reconstruction of the soul of Dresden, the Frauenkirche, literally from a pile of rubble. With its unique bell-shaped cupola, it restored the beautiful skyline that was immortalized in many of Bernardo Bellotto’s celebrated vedute.

Moreover, the rebuilding of the Frauenkirche evoked broad international support. Millions were contributed, notably by America and Britain. Dresden became a powerful symbol of reconciliation.

This will be the first time that Unesco will be deleting a site from its list of several hundred World Cultural Heritage sites. The loss will severely tarnish Dresden’s status as a cultural icon. It will also greatly diminish the impact of Dresden’s message for reconciliation.

The damage for Germany will be even greater. Here is a wealthy country that is spending huge sums to destroy one of its World Cultural Heritage sites while many poorer countries struggle to maintain theirs.

What can be done? Chancellor Merkel should tell her colleagues in Dresden that the loss of the title for the Dresden Elbe Valley is not acceptable for Germany and is particularly detrimental to Dresden.

Günter Blobel, professor at Rockefeller University in New York City, was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He is founder of the nonprofit Friends of Dresden.

Also http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,471675,00.html
 

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smalltown boy
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Discussion Starter #17
I'm far from in love with Richard Murphy's Haymarket tower, but the idea that the city could lose its world heritage, because you see something modern, in an area that isn't even within the world heritage site, is ridiculous. Edinburgh didn't sign up to be a Scottish version of Colonial Williamsburg, so that tourists feel like they are actually visiting the Georgian or Mediaeval eras.
 

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lacking in substance
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Yes, the (really very nasty) bridge is deemed to seriously damage the Outstanding Universal Value of the Elbe Valley for which the site was inscribed. Seems Germany has reneged on the promise made when it joined UNESCO to preserve the site for all of humanity. It has had a great deal of warning, and now, sadly for all, the site is being irreversibly damaged.

UNESCO tried to get a tunnel built instead, but was ignored. Dresden has been on the danger list for a while.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/522/


Edinburgh should be discussed in the next day or so. Reports so far suggest that there is a great deal of criticism of proposed developments in Edinburgh, basically because they are bad.

Parts of the report have been leaked to the press, and the Murphy Haymarket Tower was called in for a public inquiry. UNESCO's report on that was released for the inquiry. Basically, as it's right next to the World Heritage Site and will be totally out of scale with it, messing up the skyline, it's a problem.

Local residents don't want to be overshadowed by it either.

Caltongate is criticised, although as Mountgrange has collapsed that's not likely to go ahead anyhow, the proposed (although not in any seriousness) St James' Centre tower was dropped from the plans long ago.

Note for Allan Murray supporters, his Hotel Missoni seems to be attracting interest in Building Design's Carbuncle Award entries 2009.
:?

They exist??
 

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I suggest that before spouting too much about Edinburgh, world heritage, and the Haymarket Tower, a great deal of wider reading is carried out. Edinburgh isn't about to lose its status, not anytime soon, despite the nonsense spouted in the Scottish press, it's nothing to do with it being modern, it is however adjacent to the World Heritage Site, it will have impact on significant views in and out of the World Heritage Site and is probably deemed to adversely impact on the 'iconic skyline', which is part of what is significant. It's also a lump.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/728

Buffer zones are an established part of sensible management of World Heritage Sites where the skyline is important.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/473

However, we all await the outcome of the public planning inquiry. The fact is that very few who will have to live in its shadow want it either. A large number of planning policies were ignored in passing the plans.

Believe it or not, some do admire Allan Murray. There's even someone posting here. Puzzling, I appreciate.

There's information about Dresden here, and some of the tangled history http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1156
 
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