How Edinburgh's New Town Was Built

Explore the new side of town

By CyArk

Edinburgh 3D CityCyArk

In 1767 a competition was held to design the planned New Town. The winner was a relatively unknown young architect called James Craig.

This is the final plan for Edinburgh’s New Town desgined by James CraigCyArk

Craig’s initial plan showed streets in the shape of a Union flag, but this was later changed to a more suitable grid pattern.

The patriotic theme continued though, with Queen Street, George Street and Princes Street named in honour of the royal family, and Rose and Thistle Streets after national emblems.

Numerous designers contributed to the layout of New Town throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, providing housing for those who had the resources to move out of Old Town, which was becoming increasingly crowded. 

The first part of New Town, the famous Charlotte Square, was designed by Robert Adam, a neoclassical architect.

Most buildings are constructed from local sandstone. 

This part of the city is mainly townhouses still used for accommodation with some mixed use commercial and business occupants. 

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Find out more about ICOMOS' efforts to increase engagement of cultural heritage in climate action here.

Credits: Story

Peter A Cox, ICOMOS, Managing Director, Carrig Conservation International Limited, and President, ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Energy, Sustainability and Climate Change.  

Credits: All media
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