Vision for 2047: Edinburgh…..Copenhagen…..Portland…Harlow

News / Sun 4th Feb 2018 at 03:28pm

Editorial Comment

THIRTY years ago, the city of Edinburgh was asked to have a long hard look at itself and ask itself a question: Did it want to remain being seen as an east coast county town like Canterbury, York and Durham. Or did it want to be seen as a modern european capital city.

And so it was that the major infrastructure projects appeared. The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh Airport, the Tram system (moot point), Leith docks, the transformation of derelict brownfield sites into iconic buildings.

So, thirty years later, this reporter attended a haf day conference in the Harlow Playhouse called Harlow 100. It was run by the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium (LSCC) and brought together a large number of individuals interested in the development of Harlow over the next thirty years.

In short:
Harlow: 1847: Countryside
Harlow 1947: New Towns Act
Harlow 2047: Harlow and Gilston Garden City?

What was clear was that there was a great opportunity here, if everyone can think big. As one key speaker said: “Why can’t this be a city of 200,000 people? A city shaped like Copenhagen or indeed Portland, Oregon with its city status but a green sensibility. It can be done.”

What was encouraging about the conference is that it allowed you to see the breadth of ambition held by the experts. It was especially encouraging to see that the Town Centre plans looked like it had every base including the little matter of office premises being converted (carrot and stick).

It may be that as the good people of Harlow had to look at area differently after March 1947, so we might, just might, need to look at this area differently now.

At the moment, we are just a little on-line newspaper but one day, we might be bigger, have a print version and so we would hope to be in tune with the sentiments expressed at the Harlow 100 conference.

This does not mean we will be a vacant cheerleader for the town and its plans. There is still a vital role to fulfil regarding scrutiny and accountability but with all the political hurley-burly this week, we still think that the Harlow100 meeting may be the most signifant event in Harlow in the first week of February, 2018.

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