A SHIFT in how Glasgow creates and manages its ‘places’ can deliver significant economic, health and social benefits and help tackle the climate emergency, a new independent report has concluded.
The city council will now consider the recommendations of the Place Commission for Glasgow, an expert group led by Professor Brian Evans, Glasgow’s City Urbanist, and including prominent practitioners in architecture, design, economics, engineering, and public health.
Placemaking has become an increasingly important tool in shaping cities, using evidence to weld together design and planning with economic, social and environmental policies.
The commission’s key recommendations include a ‘Place Stock Transfer’ and the development of Place Associations in the city.
A Place Stock Transfer would draw on the transformative experience of the housing stock transfer of the 2000s, a catalyst for the physical and social regeneration of city neighbourhoods, and further transfer city assets to communities.
Place Associations would play a key role in reflecting community interest, particularly in relation to any stock transfer proposals.
The report addresses the continuing challenges Glasgow faces in navigating the legacies of its past as a major industrial city and the further transition required to become a post-carbon city.
It emphasises the strong emotional attachment Glaswegians have to their neighbourhoods and their city and the increasingly important role this plays in plans and policies.
The recommendations also reflect Glasgow’s status as a global city, the hub of a city region and an everyday place where people live, work and visit.
Professor Evans said: “Place is increasingly seen as the lens through which we need to plan, design and manage our quality of life within communities, neighbourhoods and across towns and cities.
“Placemaking is the hopeful complement to climate action in order to effect a just transition for people and their lives. The Place Commission has been given a rare opportunity to build an evidence-based view across the city of Glasgow now published as People make Places.”
In recent years, the impact of the covid pandemic and acceleration of the climate agenda have moved placemaking and localism further up the policy agenda.
The commission points to work already being done by the council and city partners, notably housing associations, and cites several examples of placemaking in practice, including the New Gorbals regeneration, Scotstoun Community Garden, Clyde Gateway, the Clyde Climate Forest plans and the Glasgow Women’s Library.
The report concludes that a focused and more systematic approach to placemaking in Glasgow will deliver improved economic, environmental, health and social outcomes including addressing some cost-of-living pressures, reducing energy consumption and emissions, better educational outcomes, and civic pride.
Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: “This is an extremely substantial and powerful piece of work. It goes into a great deal of thought and detail about the role of placemaking within Glasgow and how we progress regeneration for our communities and towards our net zero ambitions. The report also considers how we can use place to really advance community empowerment.
“Much of the commentary about Glasgow can still be ill-informed or chooses to focus on a particular area at a particular time. It often doesn’t give us the full or accurate picture. Professor Evans’s report provides a detailed picture of the progress — and indeed the lack of progress — of Glasgow’s transformation in recent decades and, crucially, how and where we need to go next.”
The City Administration Committee has agreed that council officers will work with Professor Evans around how best to progress the recommendations.