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Evaluation of Holyrood and Exchange Urban Regeneration projects: final report


The Exchange, including Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), aimed to address weaknesses in Edinburgh’s economic infrastructure, maximise the commercial development area, and provide a prominent city landmark. Holyrood, including ‘Our Dynamic Earth’, aimed to create a sustainable area of mixed use activity in the context of providing a major addition to Edinburgh’s visitor and tourism profile. The evaluation aimed to: identify their economic impact; gauge the effectiveness of SEEL’s approach to urban regeneration; and bring forward lessons for current and future regeneration projects.


The methodology consisted of: a review of policy and project documentation; preparation of a baseline to measure impacts against; business, visitor and employee surveys; an analysis of change and impacts on the Edinburgh property market; a public realm assessment of both areas; discussions with SEEL staff, the City of Edinburgh Council, developers and occupiers; and an evaluation workshop.


In broad economic terms, both projects have been successful in meeting their original objectives. Notes that full funding for EICC was in place from the start of the project, but at Holyrood this certainty of funding was never established. Finds that the projects had very different management structures, reflected in the development approaches adopted, the number of staff and their relative levels of skills and experience. Holyrood has broadly succeeded in animating public spaces, while the Exchange has had limited success in encouraging more intensive use of public space.


For future projects, recommends: a commitment to shared goals and common objectives; a clear vision for regeneration and clarity of delivery; the key role of project management; and the role of the public sector to ensure common economic goods are delivered. Concludes Scottish Enterprise has a key role in developing mechanisms to enable a co-ordinated inter-agency approach to regeneration.

Author Roger Tym and Partners; Jones Lang LaSalle; George Street Research; Ian White Associates
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Area regeneration, Company specific
  • Sectors
    Financial and business services, Tourism