Edinburgh Waterfront


Proposals for future developments at Edinburgh's Waterfront frequently make comparisons with developments overseas.  Here are a few of the comparisons that I have noticed;



Comparisons with:

Sydney and San Francisco

An early announcement for a possible development of Edinburgh's Waterfront was made in 1987:

 "I make no apology for the size of the vision" said Mr Bill Thomson, chairman of Edinburgh Maritime earlier this week, as he announced a project to develop Edinburgh's frontage on to the Firth of Forth into a waterfront environment "comparable with Sydney or San Francisco".


Financial Times,  19 September 1987, p.3



Comparisons with:

Copenhagen, Prague, Venice, Newcastle, Bilbao, Amsterdam

Long-term proposals for Leith Docks, announced by architects, RMJM, in June 2005 include:

 "Striking buildings to emulate landmarks in cities like Copenhagen, Prague, Venice-style apartment blocks and Scotland's tallest building are planned."

"Forth Ports are still hopeful that the area will boast an equivalent to Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum"

"There is no reason why Leith could not emulate the kind of waterside housing developments which feature in the likes of Amsterdam or buildings like the Fred & Ginger [Prague] or the Black Diamond [Copenhagen]."

"... around 120 apartments on little islands, each with space for a boat underneath like they have in Amsterdam's eastern docklands.

Reference is made to landmarks to emulate:

- Venice-style apartment blocks, virtually surrounded by water and complete with their own storage space for boats.

- Scotland's answer to Newcastle's 'winking bridge' to link Ocean Terminal with a new man-made island in the docklands.

Edinburgh Evening News  30 June 2005,  pp.1-2



Comparisons with:

Copenhagen, Stockholm, Vancouver, Dubai, Amsterdam, Venice

Long-term proposals for Granton announced in June 2005 included the following comments:

 "It has been hailed as a waterfront that could rival Copenhagen and Stockholm."

"... a major new museum or art gallery to rival Copenhagen's famous Louisiana complex"

"... a bid, led by the city council,  to see Edinburgh's waterfront transformed into one to rival the likes of Copenhagen, Sotckholm and Vancouver"

"... with three upmarket hotels ... including one on an artificial island, some even say Granton will come to challenge Dubai."

"... a new teardrop-shaped island could draw comparison with the seven-star Burjal Al Arab Hotel in Dubai."

"Other European cities, such as Amsterdam and Venice , with their islands, canals and picturesque walkways, are being used as examples of what the Capital must strive for."


Edinburgh Evening News  30 June 2005,  pp.26, 27



Comparisons with:

Stockholm, San Francisco, Copenhagen,  Vancouver

Letter to Edinburgh Evening News:

"... we should be setting our sites on cities with beautiful waterfront areas like Stockholm, San Francisco, Copenhagen or Vancouver."


Edinburgh Evening News  1 July 2005



Comparisons with:

London and Bilbao

Comments made on the announcement of a proposed new cruise liner terminal at Leith Docks included the following comments on the wider developments for Edinburgh Waterfront:

"A major outdoor theatre space inside an existing dry dock and a contemporary art gallery on the edge of the docklands are also envisaged as part of the scheme.

The architects want to create an iconic visitor attraction to emulate the likes of Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum or the Tate Modern art gallery in London for the area in order to create a striking impression for the new visitor to the city."


Edinburgh Evening News  17 September 2005,  p.11



Comparisons with:

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Commenting on proposals to create a ten-mile "broadwalk" along the coast of the Firth of Forth from Cramond to Joppa, the Edinburgh Evening News reported:

 "The council has identified Atlantic City in New Jersey as the most famous example of a 'broadwalk' waterfront development, although it has also seen a proliferation of the kind of casinos and bars which the council is anxious to avoid."


Edinburgh Evening News  January 7, 2006: pp.1,8,9



Comparisons with:

Bondi Beach, Sydney and Barcelona's Waterfront

It was reported in January 2006 that the Community Arts Project in Portobello, Big Things on the Beach, has been awarded £47,828 by the Scottish Arts Council and the National Lottery.

This should enable public arts projects in Portobello to be commissioned and developed. 

The Evening News reported:

 "... 'Big Things on the Beach' was launched in 2004 to transform Portobello into a top-class cultural beach resort, following the example of Bondi Beach in Sydney and Barcelona's waterfront.

Portobello art installations, since the launch of Big Things on the Beach, have been:

-  2004;  Blue Moon - a sculpture made of steel, plastic and chains.

-  2005:  A sculpture featuring giant windsocks on the beach.

Edinburgh Evening News  January 9, 2006:  p.11



Comparisons with:


A new Visitor Center is proposed for Leith.  The Edinburgh Evening News reports:

"It is one of Britain's most striking and unusual buildings, and has been affectionately known for years as 'The Tube'

Now the famous waterfront icon in Cardiff is set to inspire a version in the heart of Leith.

Nathan Thompson, managing director of Forth Ports said: ' ... Over the longer term we propose developing a larger facility more in keeping with the one at Cardiff Bay, which will act as an attraction in its own right'."


Edinburgh Evening News  July 7, 2006:  p.3.




Comparisons with:

Glasgow, London, Portsmouth

Comments made on the proposal to build a "Crow's Nest" visitors' viewing platform at Leith Docks:

"It is based on the form of a ship under construction and is intended to complement the shape of the nearby Victoria Bridge.  I've tried to capture the maritime feel of the port and reflect the shipping history which  poeple strongly associate with Leith"

[Piotr Bloniewski designer of the Crow's Nest]

"The Leith viewing platform is intended to be Edinburgh's answer to the tower at the Glasgow Science Centre, which has earned a five-star rating from VisitScotland.

Other landmark viewpoint attractions around the UK include One Canada Square in London's docklands and the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth."


Edinburgh Evening News  September 6, 2007: p.5




Comparison with:


Forth Ports have created a Masterplan, looking forwards 30 years.


"Parisian-style Cafés also feature heavily and during the summer people will be able to sit out and admire the views across the rejuvenated dock land and views across the Forth."


"A major new concert arena is likely to be at the cornerstone of a new "cultural hub" at the waterfront.

Forth Ports has previously released plans for the 3,000-seater concert hall to attract top pop and classical artists.

It is said to be keen to create a venue along the lines of the Sage Centre in Gateshead, which attracted 1.4 million visitors in its first two years .."


Edinburgh Evening News  September 4, 2007: pp.12, 13


Edinburgh Waterfront

Announcements to 2005            Announcements from 2006


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