Waterfront Regeneration in the Historic Port of Leith: the Challenges of Maintaining Authenticity on an Urban Scale
This paper looks at the regeneration process in the historic Port of Leith in Edinburgh over the past thirty years, with the goal of evaluating how the authenticity of the heritage values of the area have been affected. The evaluation is based on ‘before’ and ‘after’ analyses of the waterfront area which document the historical, aesthetic, morphological, economic, and social characteristics of the area, before and after regeneration. The results of the regeneration initiatives are evaluated with respect to area conservation theory and within the context of other relevant examples of waterfront regeneration in historic port cities around the world. It is found that regeneration in Leith has thus far taken a slightly superficial approach in an attempt to attract high-value uses, investors, and visitors. While this has enhanced the aesthetic and environmental value of the area and retained substantial amounts of historic fabric and patterns, it has also led to the inauthentic expression of some historical associations and a significant change in the social and economic character of the area.