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"Walled towns and cities" by David M Bruce, Academic Adviser, EWT- European Walled Towns for friendship and professional co-operation: Stirling meeting of 15 March 2016

David Bruce (right) with Scottish Region Chariman Ken Thompson (left) in stirling city centre.d

David Bruce (right) with Scottish Region Chariman Ken Thompson (left) in stirling city centre.

© John Yellowlees, 2016

Walled cities and towns are a special breed of place whose sense of history sets them apart. In Scotland we have Edinburgh, even arguably St. Andrews and clearly Stirling.

David Bruce considered what makes walled cities and towns across Europe different and whether they can be said to have more in common with each other the world over than with their unwalled neighbours - both in transport and more generally.

Walls once built for defence against threats real or imagined define a place by creating zones for circulating and socialising, and thus make environments that have a shared inheritance. Even where walls have been eroded over time, they leave an indelible impression on the urban form.

Berwick-upon-Tweed is a classic example of military purpose giving way to tourist vantage-points, while the walls of Derry/Londonderry have offered security over the centuries for the development of that city's dual identity and heritage.

Across Europe and beyond, walled towns and cities offer distinctiveness and pride. They provide effective solutions applicable in other places, in a spirit of crossboundary friendship and real cooperation. Real expertise is matched by a spirit of learning from each other, building on existing partnerships to create new ones.

Walled towns research has been brought together on the European Federation of Walled Towns website, and bears out the theme that transport in these places is about creating spaces for people. The City of Stirling shows real progress in delivering priority for pedestrians and cyclists.

The Scottish Region thanks Cross Country Trains for sponsoring David Bruce's travel.

Report and photograph by John Yellowlees.

 

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