Portobello High School - City Vision is worthwhile endeavour #Edinburgh2050

07 November 2016

Portobello High School

In our latest installment of the #Edinburgh2050 thought leader blog series, we catch up with Alexander Fraser and Pippa Watson from Portobello High School, who tell us why a clear City Vision will benefit future generations... 

Our generation has never been so engaged in the political process. The Scottish Parliament has (finally!) enfranchised everyone from 16 years old after realising that our generation does actually have views and opinions. However from the perspective of our younger generation there is still a feeling of being ignored when it comes to what the political focus is and what we see as needing addressed within society. That is why we got behind the idea to consult the public on a City Vision. It is a fantastic opportunity for us to shift the political focus onto the issues we feel need addressing and get the entire city moving in a singular direction.

In deciding our vision for the future we had to look at our city in its present state. Happily, Edinburgh already has so many great things going for it. Our city is alive with arts and culture. Events such as the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe don’t happen on the same scale in a lot of other major cities around the world. It’s such a privilege to have so many talented people come together in Edinburgh every year and share those talents with the masses. In inviting so many people here, Edinburgh highlights one of its other great assets: inclusiveness. We are so welcoming to people of all ethnicities, faiths and sexualities and to our credit are willing to stand by these people when they are discriminated against. Public marches in support of minority groups following a spike in racism after the divisive Brexit referendum was such a heartening thing to see.

That being said, there are certainly areas where Edinburgh can improve dramatically. In terms of specifically our thoughts for the future, what came to mind when posed the question of what we want the vision for Edinburgh to be, we both immediately jumped to one answer: poverty. We endlessly see the effects of poverty on the people around us in our day-to-day lives. It holds many children back in their education because they don’t have access to the same resources that many others have. They then don’t have the same job opportunities and earning potential as the rest of society and the cycle repeats itself with their children. We see this everyday and are incensed by its unfairness. Current figures estimate that 22% of Edinburgh are on incomes below the official poverty threshold, whilst in other nations like Sweden only 3.7% of families live in poverty. We can do better as a city and a society and if we make it a clear aim and political focus to reduce poverty and economic inequality we can improve the situation and help a lot of people.

There were many other things aside from poverty our minds then drifted to: environmental concerns, youth unemployment and educational attainment gaps. All of these issues greatly affect our generation yet are rarely considered as vital by the current generation of politicians and business leaders. And that’s the importance of this project. It’s about the people of Edinburgh who generally aren’t heard speaking up for what they want and expressing it clearly to those that can affect change within our society. The younger generation, our generation falls into this category and we strongly encourage all people within our generation to express your views and get involved in Edinburgh 2050.

Alexander Fraser and Pippa Watson
Deputy Head Boy and Head Girl
S6, Portobello High School

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