Where is Glasgow Going?

Dana Cherepkova, Architecture, Dominic Corbett

Where Is Glasgow Going?
Un/Common Glasgow, Dana Cherepkova (Architecture), Dominic Corbett

A series of events by Un/Common Glasgow entitled Where Is Glasgow Going? and Tenements And What To Do With Them discussing the direction of Glasgow’s urban renewal for during Architecture Fringe 2019.

The idea for the events was to create a platform for genuine conversation and creative thinking on the development of Glasgow, in terms of quality and sustainability and how Glasgow’s unique built environment can better be cared for. We intended the events to be community focused, inclusive and proactive as opposed to reactive. We feel it is important to organise public discussions that are community led, rather than having only developer/council consultations, in order to promote local democracy and balanced development.

Where Is Glasgow Going?
Over the last century, layers of Glasgow’s build history have been cleared to make way for a radical and brave New Glasgow much of which have since been torn down again. The events aimed to challenge Glasgow’s radical approach to regeneration and encourage a more ‘sustainable’ way for the city to move forward maintaining and creatively adapting what we already have.

To stimulate debate, Chris Leslie (BAFTA Scotland New Talent award winning documentary filmmaker) introduced his film (Re)Imagining Glasgow that compares the vision of Glasgow 1980 to the city today and questions it’s seemingly constant ‘never ending urban renewal’. Then, keynote speaker John Thorne from GSA Sustainability spoke about the urban challenges cities are facing in the context of climate change and possible holistic and sustainable solutions.
This was followed by lively group discussions on the direction Glasgow’s development is taking. Looking at how Glasgow can move forward while respecting its past, how to create places that people care for and continue to want to use and how can planning system be more proactive/less reactive.

We documented the concerns and ideas that arose during the discussions. Perhaps the greatest concern was with the quality, affordability and sustainability of public transport. For example busses should run on electricity and more money could be invested in public transport rather than expanding motorways. People also felt that local democracy should be improved and the planning process be more community inclusive especially in earlier stages of the developments.

Tenements And What To Do With Them.
Tenements account for 584,000 properties in Scotland equating for 24% of Scotland’s total housing stock. Yet due to lack of regular maintenance, they are crumbling (68% of all pre-1919 dwellings are in critical disrepair condition) and urgent action needs to be taken to save them.

John Gilbert (architect, activist, founder of John Gilbert Architects and Under One Roof) gave a talk on tenements, their history, construction and how to better maintain and creatively adapt them.

Euan Leitch (Director of Built Environment Forum Scotland) gave a brief introduction to Tenement Working Group and the solutions they came up with to aid, assist and compel owners of tenement properties to maintain their buildings.
Over the discussion, we addressed the issues of common maintenance, the ways Tenement Working Group can further develop their proposals (as private landlords re-selling properties though auctions manage to avoid paying common repair debts) and the issue of the VAT on renovating existing buildings.

During the events Mitch Miller (illustrator, writer and socially engaged practitioner), collected content that arose during the discussions and documented it in the form of a ‘dialectogram’ – an innovative urban cartoon style he invented himself. This helped to create a narrative and common thread linking the concerns and ideas people had.

The events sparked great discussions and creative ideas. Un/Common Glasgow aims to take forward issues that were people raised for future events and actions.

A special thank you to GSA sustainability for their generous support for the event.