Placemaking has become an increasingly important tool for shaping cities

The transformative experience of Glasgow’s housing stock transfer in the 2000s can provide a model for future ‘place stock transfer’ and the development of place associations in the city, a new independent report has concluded.

The Place Commission for Glasgow, an expert group led by Glasgow Professor of Urban Planning Brian Evans and comprising leading practitioners from architecture, design, economics, engineering and Public Health, has released a series of recommendations which it says could change the way Glasgow creates and runs its ‘places’ to deliver significant economic, health and social benefits and help tackle the climate emergency.

Building on the housing stock transfer of the 2000s, a catalyst for the physical and social regeneration of city neighborhoods, it is hoped that any transfer of place stock will see city assets transferred to communities. Place associations would play a key role in reflecting community interest, particularly in relation to any proposed stock transfer.

Providing an overview of Glasgow’s history, the report addresses the ongoing challenges Glasgow faces in navigating the legacy of its past as a major industrial city and continuing the necessary transition to becoming a post-carbon city. The report highlights the strong emotional attachment that Glasgow residents have to their neighborhoods and city and the increasingly important role this is playing in plans and policies. The recommendations also reflect Glasgow’s status as a global city, hub of an urban region and everyday place where people live, work and visit.

Professor Evans said: “Place is increasingly seen as the lens through which we must plan, design and manage our quality of life within communities, neighborhoods and cities. Placemaking is the hopeful complement to climate action to effect a just transition for people and their lives. The Place Commission had a rare opportunity to construct a factual vision of the city of Glasgow, now published under the title People make Places.

In recent years, the impact of Covid and the acceleration of the Climate Agenda have propelled placemaking and localism higher up the political agenda.

He highlights the work already done by council and city partners including housing associations, and cites several examples of placemaking in practice, including the regeneration of New Gorbals, Scotstoun Community Garden, Clyde Gateway, plans for the Clyde Climate Forest and the Glasgow Women’s Library. .

The Commission’s report concludes that a targeted and more systematic approach to place-making in Glasgow will deliver better economic, environmental, health and social outcomes, including addressing some of the cost of living pressures, reducing energy consumption and emissions, better educational outcomes and civic pride.

Glasgow City Council President Susan Aitken said: “This is extremely substantial and powerful work. It covers many thoughts and details about the role of placemaking in Glasgow and how we are moving forward in regenerating our communities and towards our Net Zero ambitions. The report also examines how we use place to truly advance community empowerment.

“A lot of Glasgow commentary can still be misinformed or choose to focus on one particular area at any given time. Often this does not give us a complete or accurate picture. Professor Evans’ report provides a detailed picture of the progress – and indeed the lack of progress – of Glasgow’s transformation over the past decades and, crucially, how and where we need to go next.