The draft Broomielaw District Regeneration Framework (DRF) is moving closer to approval for public consultation. Although over 3,500 people and stakeholders have contributed, it is always exciting to see what people think of the ideas, priorities and action plans that have been developed.
The DRF (who doesn’t enjoy a bit of jargon) is full of many exciting ideas, but one thing it does do is recognise the importance of the River Clyde to the city and also the fact that since the decline in traditional heavy industries there are still many opportunities to integrate the river into the city centre.
Many cities with an industrial past have faced the same challenges regarding re-connecting their rivers and industrial sites – like docks and warehouse areas – to the city and more importantly to people. Potentially there are now more drivers to address this than ever before – the placemaking concept is gaining strength and is being recognised by developers as something that adds value. This makes it easier to incorporate things such as mixed use (residential, office, hotel and retail) in one development area, with open space and active street fronts to ensure that spaces operate at a human scale. The terminology can be quite cold and sound process-driven, but mostly it is about building places that people want to live in, work in and visit.
Cities themselves are becoming ever more critical. Globally, and for the first time ever, more people now live in urban areas than in the countryside. This changes what people want concerning amenity and facilities which is also helping to drive placemaking principles. Also, the changes in working and shopping patterns that the use of digital platforms has enabled creates even more momentum behind placemaking – developments are not solely about what type of accommodation we live in but are about what we can do locally. The use of digital platforms may extend our reach in many ways, but it runs parallel to a desire to be local, for the feel of a place and the experiences we can have, including café life, nightlife, co-working spaces, cultural life, music, quality open space and human interaction.
Assets such as rivers provide great opportunities and a natural resource to respond to these trends. Many cities are acting on this. For example, Hamburg and Newcastle. There are many others, but the opportunities for Scotland’s largest and most metropolitan city to respond in a way which respects its heritage and supports its future are really exciting.
Your views will help shape this so please get engaged when the consultation starts.