Glasgow City Centre Strategy creating a green, liveable city centre that fosters creativity and opportunity Mon, 29 Jun 2020 13:28:11 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 (Y)OUR CITY CENTRE – ISSUES AND OPPORTUNITIES Wed, 24 Jun 2020 07:44:28 +0000 Cowcaddens, Townhead, Learning Quarter and Merchant City

It is time to let us know what you think the key issues and opportunities are for some or all the districts we are creating District Regeneration Frameworks for. You can contact  and leave as many comments as you wish or you can call us  0800 1583973. This number is live on the following dates/times: Thursday 2 July, noon – 2pm, 5 – 7pm, Saturday 4 July, 10am – noon. We will add other dates as the project develops. This will give those without online access the chance to share their ideas.

We are really keen to hear your views on how it can be made easier to get around the city centre; how streets and open spaces can be improved; and hear thoughts on housing and places to work and learn, and on the mix of activities required to create a thriving, active city centre in the future. The city centre plays a key role for the whole of Glasgow as well as the surrounding region beyond it, so thoughts on connectivity are also welcome.

The consultation and engagement process for the four districts will have two main phases. This one is to find out what people think the key priorities, issues and opportunities are for each or all the districts. The second will happen later this year when the team will work with stakeholders to develop ideas that will feed into the action plans.

A DRF is a 10-year regeneration planning framework and action plan, and each DRF will guide the city centre’s physical, social and economic regeneration. The DRFs support both Glasgow’s City Development Plan and the City Centre Strategy.

The council recently appointed a team to help prepare ambitious regeneration action plans for these four districts you can find about more about them and the strategy as a whole at and

Please make the time to make on comments on-line or phone us on the dates and times listed above.

HIGH STREET AREA STRATEGY NEWSLETTER Tue, 09 Jun 2020 12:35:41 +0000 The High Street Area Strategy aims to enhance the liveability, competitiveness, and sustainability of the High Street. Work has not stopped during the Covid-19 Emergency. However, some projects had to be delayed as the construction industry paused during the Emergency. Where possible, projects have continued to be developed in the background. Once lockdown has been eased, the High Street Area Strategy will continue as planned.

The latest edition of the newsletter for the High Street Area provides an update regarding the Covid-19 Emergency, and how this has impacted the High Street Area Strategy. In addition, there is a section titled “Tales of the High Street”. This section tells the story of Blind Alick, a resident of High Street in the 1700s. The last section of this edition of the High Street Area Strategy newsletter covers the next and final phase of the District Regeneration Frameworks. Two of these DRFs (Learning Quarter and Merchant City) will overlap with the High Street and Saltmarket area, enhancing the work currently being undertaken as part of the High Street Area Strategy.

(Y)OUR SUSTAINABLE CITY CENTRE Thu, 04 Jun 2020 14:01:13 +0000 (Y)our Sustainable City Centre
Here is the second blog from the team working to prepare Districts Regeneration Frameworks for Cowcaddens, Townhead, the Learning Quarter and the Merchant City.  Judith Sykes and Carrie Behar are from Useful Projects which is a sustainable innovation consultancy for the built environment. They specialise in climate and biodiversity emergency planning, circular economy, social value and wellbeing, and design thinking and creativity.

A global and local imperative
The climate emergency and catastrophic biodiversity loss are two of the most pressing challenges facing the world today. In the context of a rapidly urbanising global population, every city has a part to play in addressing these challenges, by supporting the transition to a more equitable society and supporting citizens in leading sustainable lifestyles.

Glasgow has a strong impetus for implementing sustainable development. It can capitalise on the co-benefits of climate change and biodiversity loss mitigation as it manages relevant budgets around health, transport and housing, and has a deep understanding of how the different policy priorities impact on each other. Sustainability has been at the core of Glasgow’s planning and development policy for many years. It underpins the latest City Development Plan (2016), and is at the heart of the draft City Centre Living Strategy Vision 2035 and the Draft City Centre Strategic Development Framework (forthcoming). Furthermore, initiatives such as Sustainable Glasgow and the Connectivity Commission are examples of how Glasgow has successfully sought to take a fresh and holistic approach to environmental, social and economic development by advocating a partnership approach to travel and public transport provision.

In 2019, the Council joined other local authorities in declaring a climate emergency and set an ambitious target to become climate neutral by 2030. The city was due to host this year’s Conference of Parties annual climate change summit (COP26), currently postponed to 2021.

An unprecedented opportunity
The unprecedented response to COVID-19 shows just how quickly we can change. During the national lockdown, we have seen a glimpse of what a future city could look like: fewer cars, cleaner, quieter and more pleasant streets, better air quality and an increase in walking and cycling. In Scotland, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has already stated that the post-lockdown transition should reset agendas around sustainability.

Other international cities and organisations are joining the #buildbackbetter movement. For example, Amsterdam is applying doughnut economics as part of their planning for post-COVID recovery. Amsterdam’s vision is to be “a thriving, regenerative and inclusive city for all citizens while respecting the planetary boundaries”. Cities such as Bogota have provided emergency bikeways, and Milan is hoping to permanently reallocate street space from cars to cycling and walking, as part of a radical transformation prompted by the coronavirus crisis.

Building on success in four unique neighbourhoods
The District Regeneration Frameworks (DRFs) for Cowcaddens, Townhead, the ‘Learning Quarter’ and the Merchant City neighbourhoods will need to respond to the specific challenges and opportunities inherent in the fabric and social composition of each district. Working closely with local communities, to shape the transformation of their neighbourhoods into flourishing and sustainable pieces of city will bring this about.

While the distinct characteristics of each neighbourhood will be retained and celebrated, the city centre will achieve greater social and physical coherence through the application of shared sustainability themes and objectives. These include carbon neutrality, zero waste in construction and operation, biodiversity net gain, high physical and digital connectivity, empowered communities, and active, healthy lifestyles. The DRFs provide an opportunity to improve the neighbourhoods to provide a setting for greater inclusivity and justice- through the shaping of the physical environment in a way that enables and encourages people to live healthy lifestyles and attain the best possible quality of life.

To ensure the success of the DRFs, we intend to work with communities and stakeholders to develop distinctive, local solutions that are relevant to Glasgow and can be delivered in partnership to address these global challenges. Through extensive consultation and community engagement, we are gathering diverse perspectives and moving towards developing a consensus around a shared vision of success. The outcome of this approach will be a city that puts people at its heart.

COVID-19 has shown us that we can adapt. Now is the time to pause and reflect on some of the great work that Glasgow is already doing in meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (e.g. Avenues, Future City Glasgow, Circular Glasgow), before setting out a plan of action and an enabling framework that allows Glasgow to go even further in becoming a truly world-class sustainable city.

Judith Sykes and Carrie Behar
Our role on this project is to develop a sustainability framework for the DRFs, and to act as an experienced and creative ‘critical friend’ to the project team, to ensure the application of international best practice to deliver a thriving city – based on a sustainable, healthy and inclusive environment, a strong community and a resilient economy.

DELIVERING LIFE-SAVING STREETS + SPACES Fri, 22 May 2020 23:32:47 +0000 (Y)our District Regeneration Frameworks

This is the first blog from the team working to prepare Districts Regeneration Frameworks for Cowcaddens, Townhead, the Learning Quarter and the Merchant City. Christopher Martin is Co-Founder and Director of Urban Strategy at Urban Movement; is a member of the United Nations Planning and Climate Action Group; a Trustee of Living Streets; and on the Executive Committee of the UK Urban Design Group.

In light of the current situation in which we find ourselves and spending a lot of time thinking creatively about Glasgow’s future with the District Regeneration Framework team, I have been reflecting a lot. Never before has local and national Government, the press, or we as the public been as interested in the design of our towns and cities as we are today.

We have heard so much recently about what COVID-19 means for cities; the way we will live, the way we will move, and the way we will work. Now more than ever, we have been made acutely aware of the adverse effects that certain urban conditions can have on our lives – in particular our health, happiness, and prosperity.

This crisis has bought into sharp focus the cities that we need to benefit our health and quality of life and help our city to thrive. As apart of the District Regeneration Framework we want to work with everyone to help shape the future Glasgow that we need.

The immediate solution to this crisis is ‘space’, and space is – and will be – the commodity that we must consider more carefully. How do we use the space we have to tackle this, the future crises we will face, as well as delivering all the advantages of cities for people?

We need space for movement, space to get around, so we need to prioritise space-efficient transport modes. Public transport is under massive pressure at the moment with people having to physically distance, and there isn’t enough space for everyone to drive – so space efficiency is the answer and we need to promote these modes. Indeed, everyone who walks or jumps on a bike to get where they need to go is helping key workers and people who sorely need to use public transport to get about more easily – and less stressfully.

We need more space for leisure, play and community as well. This crisis has brought communities together and made them stronger. We have seen neighbours chatting in the streets and children playing. In the immediate term for safety, but also in the future for improved quality of life and inclusive growth, we need to keep residential and community streets as places where children can learn to ride a bike or play together, and where community life can thrive.

Sometimes it is left out of discussions about the public realm, but we all need space for business as well, and more than ever. The economic fallout of this crisis will be challenging, so we will have to use the space we have in a way that actually – not anecdotally – strengthens the economy for all, and gives us vibrant, prosperous, and fun streets and spaces. Let’s face it, one thing we know for sure – we’re all going to need a good laugh when this is over, so we need to act now on our streets and public spaces to make sure we keep business and social life alive. The only conceivable way for pubs, cafes, and restaurants to meet physical distancing rules is if we can put tables and chairs on the streets.

To my mind, however you picture this, the way forward from today has to be an economic recovery strategy. To succeed, we need to prioritise space for economic recovery, space for health, space for community, and space for life to unfold. And when it comes to transport, we have to use ways of getting about that safeguard and deliver the space that we need – space for the recovery.



THE NEXT (PHASE 3) DISTRICT REGENERATION FRAMEWORKS Thu, 21 May 2020 09:49:53 +0000 Glasgow City Council has appointed a multidisciplinary team of local and international consultants to prepare for the next phase of our City Centre District Regeneration Frameworks (DRFs).

Austin-Smith-Lord will lead the team, in partnership with Rotterdam based urbanists Studio for New Realities, WAVEparticle and will also draw upon the expertise of Urban Movement and Civic Engineers. The four districts for phase 3 of the DRFs are Cowcaddens, Townhead, the “Learning Quarter” and the Merchant City.

These DRFs will be prepared in consultation with the local communities across all four districts to enhance their distinctive local character. To do this, consultants will be working in partnership with residents, businesses, community and civic organisations, as well as, Strathclyde University, Glasgow Caledonian University and the City of Glasgow College. This mix of knowledge and expertise will develop forward-thinking plans to help shape the future of these districts.

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

The DRFs will promote local and large scale projects in an action plan which considers how to fund and deliver regeneration with short, medium and long term aims for each district. The DRFs will be prepared in consultation and cooperation with local communities over the remainder of 2020 and 2021. The intention is that publication will take place in 2022.  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.”

STREET CHANGE GLASGOW – LAUNCH EVENT Thu, 05 Mar 2020 20:22:16 +0000 Former Old Firm players helped launch a new alternative giving scheme for people involved in street begging in Glasgow city centre on Tuesday 3 March. Ex Rangers striker, Mark Hateley, and former Celtic defender, Tosh McKinlay, joined supporters of Street Change Glasgow in Central Station to unveil one of three new contactless card donation points installed in the city centre to raise funds for vulnerable people. Both the Garage and Cathouse night clubs are also hosting Street Change Glasgow donation points and it is hoped more businesses will sign up soon to expand the network.

Third sector organisations, businesses, Glasgow City Council and the city’s Health & Social Care Partnership (GCHSCP) have teamed up with Simon Community Scotland to launch the new alternative giving scheme. It offers the public an alternative to putting change in a cup, to help bring about positive, long term change for people involved in street begging.

Glasgow’s Lord Provost’s Fund has donated £10,000 towards the initiative and CGI, the council’s I.T. provider, paid for the new donation points which accept donations via contactless bank cards. A raffle by Best Bar None Glasgow also raised almost £4500 for the fund.
Street Change Glasgow will help vulnerable people improve their lives long term. The fund will be led and managed by Simon Community Scotland and payments will be made to individuals via Glasgow’s Street Team which works with people on the streets and is funded by GCHSCP.

Money from the fund will be used to pay for items such as travel to or clothing for job interviews, to provide tools or protective clothing required to take up a job offer or continue employment or to help people access training.
Lorraine McGrath, Chief Executive of Simon Community Scotland said: “We are constantly working to find new ways to reach, respond and resolve the kind of desperation that drives someone to street beg. Street Change Glasgow provides one such new way for us to reach and bring new options for people to assist them to move away from the harms that result from street begging. We are delighted and privileged to host the initiative and bring all of our expertise in responding to the most extreme vulnerabilities of those caught up in all forms of street lifestyles. We know from direct experience what difference having access targeted funds can make in bring change for even the most chronic and concerning circumstances, working person by person to find what works for them.

Street Change Glasgow is based on a similar scheme in Manchester which members of Glasgow’s Working Group on Street Begging visited while developing this initiative. Councillor Allan Casey, Chair of Glasgow’s Working Group on Street Begging, said: “Glasgow City Council is proud to be a partner in this exciting initiative which will be a first of its kind in Scotland. Glasgow is a generous city and people care deeply about those who are vulnerable and marginalised. They regularly give their spare change to people who are begging. This may help in the short term, but may not bring about positive, long term change in that person’s life. Street Change Glasgow will offer the public a new way to help, which aims to deliver long term change for individuals – giving them personalised practical support to improve their lives by pursuing positive paths.

Drew Burns, Network Rail’s station manager for Glasgow Central, said: “Over 40million customers pass through Glasgow Central every year and they are always quick to support the charity initiatives we host in the station. The Street Change Glasgow project will give passengers another option for donating to help the city’s most vulnerable residents and we are pleased to be part of it.

Brian Fulton, Owner/Director of Hold Fast Entertainment, which runs the Cathouse and the Garage, explained why his company is supporting the scheme. He said: “We hope Street Change Glasgow will make a real difference to vulnerable people’s lives. It is an innovative concept and I’m sure the contactless donation points will be popular with our customers. Many young people don’t carry cash these days, but still want to do their bit to help people who are less fortunate, so contactless donations will appeal to them.

Street Change Glasgow will work alongside existing services and initiatives which help vulnerable people in the city centre such as Glasgow’s homelessness services, Glasgow Alliance to End Homelessness, the city’s Digital & Financial Inclusion Outreach Officer and Housing First.
Other partners involved in Street Change Glasgow include Glasgow City Mission, Turning Point, Red Media, The Big Issue, Housing First Scotland, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Homeless Network Scotland, Police Scotland and British Transport Police.

Further information on Street Change Glasgow can be found at

CITY CENTRE MURAL TRAIL – BOOKLET UPDATE Wed, 04 Mar 2020 21:24:50 +0000 The City Centre Mural Trail companion booklets have always been popular with visitors and residents alike. Bright, colourful and full of information, they help people understand the scope of the project, provide background to each artwork and identify their locations. The booklets also include a short description of other interesting places to visit or things to see in the vicinity of each mural.

As well as being a helpful guide to the installations themselves, many visitors also appreciate them as a keepsake or a memento of their time in Glasgow. Glasgow City Council regularly receives requests for booklets from people interested in the City Centre Mural Trail, from all over the world.

We are, therefore, happy to announce that the new booklet has been completed and that copies will be made available from the usual outlets; most notably GCC offices at 231 George Street, and the Visit Scotland information centre in Buchanan Street. We also hope to be able to make copies available from a number of Glasgow Life venues such as the People’s Palace, and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, as we have done in the past. You can download the booklet here.

As always, our thanks go to our colleagues in the council’s Graphics team for all their help, especially to Allen Caldwell who has been the principal artist for every booklet we have produced.

[NB] Unfortunately, whilst the new booklet was in production the Tiger mural at Custom House Quay received extensive graffiti damage. Despite our huge disappointment at its loss we’ve been left with no option but to paint over this location. Consequently, its inclusion in the new booklet is no longer accurate.

On a semi-related note, Glasgow City Council occasionally receives requests from students who have chosen the City Centre Mural Trail as a topic for part of their own course work. Sometimes these requests are simply for more detailed information about the project, sometimes they ask for an interview with an officer involved in the initiative. We try to assist wherever we can and hope that our involvement benefits the students work.

One such request was from Ellie Bryson who was studying an HND in Media and Communication at City of Glasgow College. Ellie has since completed her project and passed her class. As Ellie explained, her video “…was really fun to work on, and allowed me to explore a different side to Glasgow which I wasn’t aware of.” We think her video is fantastic and Ellie has allowed us to share it here:

Additionally, we’ve also learned that the City Centre Mural Trail will be the subject of a talk to be delivered by Federica Giacobbe to the Scottish Tourist Guide Association board during their upcoming Annual General Meeting.

GLASGOW CITY CENTRE 2050 EVENT Wed, 12 Feb 2020 20:45:08 +0000 Presenting the City’s ambitions for the development of the city centre over the next 15-30 years.

About this Event
Glasgow City Council is increasingly investing in built environment transformations that promote positive health behaviours, such as active transportation and social inclusion. Representatives from Glasgow City Council Development & Regeneration Services will present the City’s ambitions for the development of the city centre over the next 15-30 years.

Towards a more people-focused, liveable place.
2 March 2020,  Glasgow School of Art- Reid Building, 164 Renfrew Street, Glasgow, G3 6RQ

6.30 – 6.40 Welcome
6.40 – 7.00 City Centre Strategic Development Framework
7.00 – 7.20 City Centre Living Strategy
7.20 – 8.00 Discussion and feedback

If you are interested you can register and book a place on Eventbrite.  If you have any questions about the event please contact Harriet Simms, GSA Community Engagement Officer, at

CENTRAL/BLYTHSWOOD DISTRICT REGENERATION FRAMEWORKS Thu, 06 Feb 2020 23:29:05 +0000 The public consultation exercise for Central District Regeneration Framework (CDRF) closes on 14 February 2020, and the information received during this process will inform its final draft.

Thereafter, this document will return to Glasgow City Council’s City Administration Committee for final approval before becoming a live document. The council will then look to deliver on the outputs contained within the CDRF Action Plan over the next ten years. There will be regular updates as the themed projects develop.

Additionally, Blythswood District Regeneration Framework (BLDRF) has now received approval to proceed to public consultation. This process will commence on 31 January 2020 and continue for eight weeks, closing on 27 March 2020.

Glasgow City Council has already received thousands of responses from members of the public during the engagement and consultation phases of the City Centre Districts Strategy. However, your thoughts, comments and suggestions are still needed to help inform the remaining DRFs, with specific reference to both Central DRF (before it closes) and Blythswood DRF (once it goes live).

In this way, please continue to let us know how you feel about these proposals. You can access links to the Central, and Blythswood DRF surveys, below. Additionally, you can also access the results of previous DRF surveys via Glasgow City Council’s Consultation Hub, a link for which is also provided below.

Central DRF Consultation – click here for the survey on the Central DRF.

Blythswood DRF Consultation –click here for the Blythswood DRF survey.

Previous DRF Consultations – click here to access GCC’s Consultation Hub and the results of previous DRF surveys.

CITY CENTRE LIVING STRATEGY – A SURVEY Wed, 29 Jan 2020 15:51:40 +0000 Where do you want to live?

More and more people are choosing to live in cities and especially city centres. The key drivers for this are connectivity and sustainability. Living in the heart of the city, puts you close to all the experiences that only a city centre like Glasgow can provide – work, retail, restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas, museums and galleries. With everything so close by, active travel is a much more attractive and practical option.

Glasgow City Council has an ambition to double the city centre population by 2035. According to the last census there are 20,245 people in the city centre. Compared to other city centres this is a really low number so there is an opportunity to have more people living here. Having more people living here brings all sorts of benefits. More people will make the city centre feel more alive and will also support businesses.

So the Council is thinking about how it can make the city centre even more appealing to people and the developers/investors who have a critical part to play in this. In response to this, the Council has created the City Centre Living Strategy (CCLS). The CCLS has six key priorities:

  • Do the basics well – Making the city centre a pleasant safe space should be a priority;
  • Give clear and consistent guidance – Tell us what you want and help us do it!
  • A living city – Community and management make the place;
  • Supportive policy – Set clear policy parameters;
  • Land ownership and Assembly – Be proactive about creating development opportunities;
  • Communication is key – more people who want to live here and more developers want to invest.

Some of the things we will do to support these priorities will be to:

  • Find ways to make it easier to bring vacant commercial spaces into use, particularly upper floors;
  • Provide a city centre which is cleaner, safer, greener and more sustainable;
  • High quality designs from the start;
  • Be open-minded to new ideas and new approaches to bring investment opportunities out of the ground.

So the question, what kind of city centre you want to live in? Please take 5 minutes to let us know by clicking here.