LEADING Experts To Start Work On Blueprints For Future Of City Centre Neighbourhoods

27 May, 2020 | News

GLASGOW City Council has appointed a multi-disciplinary team of local and international consultants to prepare pioneering planning frameworks for the future of four City Centre districts.

It is led by Glasgow-based Austin-Smith:Lord and will prepare the next round of District Regeneration Frameworks (DRFs) for Cowcaddens, Townhead, the ‘Learning Quarter’ and the Merchant City districts. This follows on from work by the same consultants for the (Y)our City Centre DRFs for Broomielaw, St. Enoch, Central and Blythswood.

The team includes Rotterdam-based urbanists Studio for New Realities led by Jeroen Zuidgeest, who was involved in previous (Y)our City Centre DRFs as Partner at MVRDV.

It also draws upon the expertise of Urban Movement and Civic Engineers — who are working with Glasgow City Council on the Glasgow City Region City Deal ‘Avenues’ project — and local artist-led organisation WAVEparticle, who recently represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale and have undertaken community-led projects on High Street-Saltmarket and in Laurieston.

The next DRFs will be prepared in consultation with local communities across all four districts to respond to and enhance their distinctive local character. Working in collaboration with residents, businesses, community, civic and cultural organisations alongside major institutions, including the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow Caledonian University and City of Glasgow College, it is intended to develop forward-thinking plans to help shape the future of the pivotal city centre districts.

The frameworks will establish a planning strategy to respond to opportunities and challenges these neighbourhoods face to enhance the quality of life, health and wellbeing of the local communities, economy and the environment.

They will capitalise on the area’s rich built and social heritage, diverse local culture and community assets including businesses, colleges and universities. The Frameworks will also address the big challenges facing contemporary society including health, social and economic inequalities, climate change and how the city can renew and recover post-Covid-19.

The blueprints will promote both local and large-scale projects in an action plan looking at how to fund and deliver regeneration with short, medium and long-term interventions. They will be drawn up over the remainder of 2020 and into 2021 with the intention that they will be published in late 2021/early 2022.

Details of how local communities and stakeholders can engage and help shape and influence the work will be published in the coming weeks, with updates at

Councillor Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council and city convener for inclusive economic growth, said: “It’s vital that our city centre is equipped for both the structural changes facing our high streets and the need for carbon neutrality within the next decade. These shifts are already creating both challenge and opportunity and the district regeneration frameworks will give us the blueprints to renew the beating heart of Glasgow.

“A team of leading experts with international and local experience will assist us in shaping that future, whilst retaining the strengths and character we cherish about each district. We need our communities to come with us so I would urge all those whose neighbourhoods are within the frameworks to get involved in our consultation in the months ahead.”

Graham Ross, architect and urban planner at Austin-Smith:Lord, said: “It’s a great privilege and big responsibility to be taking on the preparation of these regeneration frameworks with local communities in these pivotal city centre districts.

“Developing distinctive solutions drawing upon the creativity and wisdom of local people, in combination with international best practice, will ensure our city can thrive in the future. We will explore ways in which Glasgow can recover from the impact of Covid-19. We hope to develop imaginative and practical ways to adapt to economic and climate change that deliver enduring and positive regeneration.”


Glasgow City Council’s City Centre Strategy identifies nine Districts and a series of ‘Avenues’ as the basis of planning and delivering sustainable regeneration across the city centre.

Good progress has been made on the first five District Regeneration Frameworks (DRFs) published, and designs for the first two ‘blocks’ of Avenues underway, following the construction of the Sauchiehall Street ‘Avenue’ Pilot.

A DRF is a 10-year regeneration planning framework and action plan. Each will guide physical, social and economic regeneration and inform planning guidance

The adopted (Y)our City Centre DRFs promoted an ambitious future vision that includes a River Park along the Clyde, increased city centre living with enhanced community facilities and improvement to walking, cycling and public transport networks to create healthy, sustainable connections between communities and opportunities. The (Y)our Broomielaw DRF secured a Scottish Design Award in 2019.

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