However, we believe that on balance having daily contact with a wide range of people is good for us. It makes life more interesting, broadens our outlook and makes us more tolerant.
By diversity we mean people from different ethnic, religious and cultural groups,
of different ages, disabilities, income, gender and sexuality. Diversity makes life richer and also has practical advantages.
It means that there are people around during the day so that the area feels safe. It means that local schools have a mix of kids raising educational attainment. And it also provides spending power to support a range of local shops and other facilities.
What You Can Do
Reach out to all of the people in your area, not just those that come to meetings. Engage in activities and celebrations that celebrate the diversity of people and reach out to a wider range of people to involve them in all of the discussions you are having about the neighbourhood. Have meetings in different venues and at times when people can attend. Work through schools, community centres and places of worship to involve people who might not otherwise get involved. Use moderated social media to bring people together and keep things positive. When commenting on new developments, welcome new housing development that is well designed and which will add to the diversity of the local community.
Developers and Designers
Avoid creating a mono-community by using only a limited number of house types. Include a range of houses and apartments as well as older persons’ housing. Embrace a diversity of tenures including housing for sale, shared equity private and social rented housing.
Use planning policy to ensure that new housing meets local needs and nourishes diverse communities. Make sure that policies on issues such as density, parking, gardens and privacy distances don’t limit the range of housing that can be built. Ensure that there is scope for some housing even in high density areas and some apartments in suburban areas. Have a clear social housing policy and ensure that it is implemented through planning agreements to encourage a greater mix.
6A) Portobello, Edinburgh
Voted the best neighbourhood in the UK and Ireland at the 2020 Urbanism Awards, the seaside suburb of Portobello is home to a very socially diverse population.
Constructed predominantly in the 19th century, the range of housing, from worker cottages and tenements to large detached villas caters for a mix of incomes, ages and backgrounds.
Despite its status as a highly desirable suburb of Edinburgh with good facilities and access into Edinburgh, the neighbourhood has avoided the levels of gentrification that many similar areas have faced elsewhere, and Portobello continues to support a range of local shops and facilities that appeal to a cross-section of society.
A strong sense of community and pride is also evident within the neighbourhood, which has resulted in a number of significant community-led projects being brought forward. Most notably the community purchase of Portobello Old Parish Church, the first community buy-out of its kind, is now home to a thriving venue for arts events.
The Wash House community centre provides a free youth club service and hosts a range of other regular activities which encourage health, wellbeing and education for the local community. Meanwhile, Tribe Porty is a community coworking and creative events space, which accommodates a collection of social entrepreneurs, freelancers, charities and SMEs.
The Portobello beach is a hub of activity, with swimmers, local rowing and sailing clubs and Scottish Beach Volleyball competitions. The Promenade boasts several local cafes and is the setting for Edinburgh’s annual Big Beach Busk and other art and cultural events throughout the year. Community beach cleans help to maintain this much-loved local facility.
“Sand, sea and a strong wave of community spirit make Portobello a truly special neighbourhood.”
– COUNCILLOR MAUREEN CHILD, RESIDENT.
“It’s a really unique place, and we say all the time how happy we are to be based here with its mix of old and new.”
– JACK CLARK, BUSINESS OWNER AND RESIDENT.
Photography: © Academy of Urbanism, 2019, © Grosvenor