'University in the city': Percy Johnson-Marshall and the reconstruction of Edinburgh’s South Side, 1961-76

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In 1962, the University of Edinburgh proposed that the area adjacent to its central campus should be designated as a Comprehensive Development Area, with the planner (and university senior lecturer) Percy Johnson-Marshall showing how historic tenements could be replaced by a new urban landscape of slab blocks situated on an elevated pedestrian podium above new roads, creating a seamless continuum between the university and the city. They sit alongside contemporaneous ‘paper’ renewal projects, including SPUR’s plans for Boston Manor and the proposals of the 1963 Buchanan Report. Drawing on the archive, the article explores the genesis of the scheme, the terms in which it was presented to the public, and the reaction it gained. It also considers how and why the proposals were abandoned in the early 1970s. At its core, the article reflects on the often messy processes which shaped urban renewal in 1960s and 1970s Britain, the continuities of the period, and the value of looking to the specific local factors which explain why particular approaches were taken.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1123-1147
Number of pages26
JournalPlanning Perspectives
Issue number6
Early online date30 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • urban renewal
  • post-war architecture
  • conservation
  • rehabilitation
  • comprehensive development
  • Edinburgh
  • Percy Johnson-Marshall
  • university design


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