Computer generated image of full length of George Street proposed designAs part of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, the proposal protects the principles of James Craig’s simple, geometric and spacious design for the New Town.

It enhances the setting of the heritage assets, such as the statues, and improves current views and vistas along George Street.

With his vision in mind, the design maintains the street’s symmetry. Removing street clutter and reducing vehicle access will provide more space to appreciate and celebrate the surrounding heritage.


View looking east along George Street

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Current view of Castle Street

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Current view looking west along George Street

Key considerations

  • retain symmetry on George Street
  • remove unnecessary street furniture and clutter
  • protect and enhance key views and vistas
  • remove central parking to reduce the current dominance of vehicles
  • improve the setting of existing statues
  • careful consideration of the specific locations for appropriate street greening
  • upgrade the pavements with high quality materials like natural stone
  • appropriate lighting to enhance the heritage features and character of the street.

Symmetry and rhythm

The diagram below shows the north/south symmetry and the east/west rhythm of the re-zoned street. In keeping with James Craig’s original vision, the street follows a regular rhythm along its length, with each block generally having the same elements and uses.

The key components of the street are evenly distributed throughout each block, ensuring convenient access to disabled parking bays, cycle facilities or loading close to shops and restaurants.

Diagram showing the symmetry and repeating patterns along each block in George Street




Reduced street traffic frees space for better settings for the statues along George Street. They are given room at junctions and the removal of central street parking allows them to be seen along the length of the street.

Proposed new location for James Clerk Maxwell statue

To create safe junctions for cyclists at St Andrew Square we are proposing to relocate the statue of James Clerk Maxwell further towards the entrance to the Square. From here it will have a commanding view of George Street and both Princes Street and Queen Street, as well as a new prominence as part of St Andrew Square.

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Proposed new location for James Clerk Maxwell statue at entrance to St Andrew Square


The ground surface on George Street is currently poor with low quality materials in worn condition. The proposal replaces these with high quality natural stone with a long life and of a quality suitable for a world-class city centre street in a World Heritage Site.

All materials were selected after extensive engagement with stakeholders including heritage groups. An in-person workshop was also held in February 2022 to help stakeholders see and feel the various potential material options.

A centre square in George Street showing the layout of ground materials.

Cycle Street

  • flat topped granite setts - comfortable for cyclists and complementing the unique heritage of George Street
  • a darker shade of granite to distinguish the cycle street from the pavements

Birds eye view of section of George street.


  1. Spill-out zones
  2. Pavement
  3. Flexi-zone
  4. Disabled parking (24 hr)
  5. Cycle Street
  6. Loading area (limited access)


  • Scoutmoor Yorkstone flags
  • granite kerbs between pavement and cycle street.

The pavements present challenges including

  • the varying building line along the street
  • varying levels between the pavement and buildings
  • the architectural importance of the buildings.

We will further develop the detail, but current proposals recommend using small cubes of Scoutmoor Yorkstone to give both the design and construction more flexibility when addressing these challenges.

Central squares/clutter free spaces

  • granite setts will distinguish from the cycle street
  • the laying pattern and colour will be a lighter shade to soften the contrast with the Scoutmoor Yorkstone on the pavements.

Street furniture

  • suitable for everyone
  • respectful of the world heritage status
  • robust and easy to maintain

Potential to develop bespoke timber seating with metal back rests to connect with the metal railings along the street.

Example of cycle stands with a Georgian influence will match the metalwork in the seating.

Images of proposed style of bench and cycle stand.