“The key ambitions are, as they always have been, about reducing inequality in the city. I think many people across the whole of Scotland are aware of the issues we face on a daily basis. We are very similar to other local authorities and something that we’d like to continue to do is share good practice more effectively across Scotland, the UK and internationally.”
– Mayor John Alexander
John Alexander is a Scottish National Party (SNP) councillor and the current Leader of Dundee City Council. He attended the University of Dundee, initially studying Law and later graduating with a Master of Arts in Politics and International Relations. He is currently the youngest council leader in Scotland at the age of 29 and has been a councillor for 5 years, holding senior positions since 2013 including convener of Housing and Convener of Neighbourhood Services. As the political head of the council, John sets the strategic direction of the city’s agenda, policy development and leads several key bodies including the Dundee Partnership.
In May 2020, Dundee City Council was awarded £460,000 from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People Fund which is being used for the temporary pedestrianisation of Union Street, work installing 20mph zones and traffic reduction projects on various routes. Managed by Sustrans Scotland, Spaces for People is a temporary infrastructure programme in Scotland offering funding and support to make it safer for people who choose to walk, cycle or wheel as cities transition out of lockdown.
The pilot pedestrianisation project incorporated input from local stakeholders and was broadly welcomed by traders and customers during the pandemic The project was supported by UNESCO City of Design Dundee, and is set to continue in 2021.
In 2020, Dundee ranked seventh in the top ten eco-friendly high streets in the UK, with only Edinburgh scoring higher in Scotland, according to research carried out by website SaveOnEnergy. SaveOnEnergy’s points-based system created an index based on a city high street’s access to recycling facilities, electric vehicle charging points, vegan-friendly restaurants, independent shops, charity shops and nearby parks and green spaces. The research highlighted Dundee’s access to a high number of electrical charging points, the regular access to recycling facilities and the high number of parks and greenspaces in the city as contributing factors to its high score.
Dundee City Council has launched an action plan that aims to make use of more land in Dundee for growing food as part of the proposed Local Food Growing Strategy. The city identified more than 1500 hectares of available land, both council managed and privately leased, that could produce enough to meet the fruit and vegetable needs of more than a third of the city’s population. The strategy identifies how and where capacity could be increased, and the potential health benefits.