26th June 2020

Glasgow virtual event – Exploring the future of our city centres

For our first ever virtual event, this time focusing on our Glasgow Studio, we were joined by clients, collaborators and friends for an interesting discussion exploring what the future holds for our city centres, in particular Glasgow city centre.

Over the course of the event, the group discussed how with the way we live our lives transformed, never has the design and use of our cities been in the spotlight so much. What does this actually mean though and how can we, as an industry working together, attract people to the city centre, make them feel safe and create a thriving economy? How do we bring about a city centre of the future?

As the discussion progressed, key themes and opportunities emerged including;

  • The need to determine who our city centres are for and based on our experiences during lockdown, what do we, as a society, actively want to change?
  • The fact that the climate emergency has not gone away and ensuring our cities are climate resilient is still a priority – the question was raised whether if the climate emergency was repositioned as a health emergency, would more action be taken?
  • The fact that there is a huge opportunity to lock in the behaviour change we have seen in lockdown and this has proven how quickly behaviour can actually change. We have almost seen a ‘living consultation process’ take place due to the changes we have had to make by staying more local and moving round our local areas in a different way.
  • Determining where the blocks are to making change and tackling those so that Glasgow can stay ahead of the curve, be truly experimental and make meaningful longer term change to our streets and how we use our buildings and spaces.
  • The need to focus on economic growth being about creating ‘thriving places’ and having the flexibility to respond to individual places.
  • Planning needs to be turned into an enabler and this is difficult to achieve but it must happen
  • Green infrastructure needs to be embedded, it should not be an after thought and we must use our ‘fantastic resource of rain’
  • The importance of ‘retrofirst’ when it comes to buildings. Repurposing existing buildings can be as economically viable as building news ones and there are creative solutions to some of the building challenges we face. Retention and repurpose vs replacement.

These were just some of the key points that arose during the discussion which ranged from looking at things at a city region level right through to a street and building level. The event demonstrated the importance of bringing together all parties and creative minds involved in rethinking our cities at every level, as everyone has a crucial role to play. Thanks to everyone who attended for their contribution and insight.

Glasgow virtual event – Exploring the future of our city centres

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