(Y)OUR FUTURE CITY - BROOMIELAW REGENERATION FRAMEWORK PUBLISHED FOR CONSULTATION
By Graham Ross, Partner, Austin-Smith: Lord
Glasgow city centre is vital to the economic, social, environmental, cultural and civic health of the city region, and Scotland. Optimising the city centre’s future performance is pivotal if we are to benefit from the great assets Glasgow has including incredible architecture and heritage; renowned reputation for innovation, enterprise and creativity; immense knowledge capital; an urban riverfront and, of course, Glaswegians.
A multi-disciplinary team led by Glasgow-based architecture practice, Austin-Smith:Lord, working in collaboration with leading international architects and urbanists, MVRDV, was appointed by Glasgow City Council to develop regeneration frameworks for four of the nine districts identified in the City Centre Strategy.
Glasgow City Council has recently published the Broomielaw District Regeneration Framework (DRF) for public consultation between 9 February and 5 April 2019 offering all Glaswegians an opportunity to help shape the plans, after which the final Broomielaw DRF and Action Plan will be produced. The DRF area encompasses Broomielaw, parts of Anderston and the northern portion of Tradeston.
Having canvassed the opinion of thousands of Glaswegians, bold plans for (Y)our City Centre are emerging. Local resident, business, civic and cultural communities, developers, investors and visitors to the city were invited to share ideas and shape a dynamic vision of what should go where and why.
Analysis and evidence confirmed the lack of activity along the city centre riverfront, severance caused by the motorway and excessively wide roads, a lack of quality green public space, too few people living in the city centre, an under-performing urban mobility network and a strong desire to make the changes necessary and capitalise on committed investment including City Deal funded projects such as the ‘Avenues’ streetscape improvement projects.
The plans include a proposal for a world-class River Park along both banks of the Clyde; an examination of the benefits and negative impacts of the M8 motorway on the area; establishing a vibrant mixed-use riverfront community featuring high-quality contemporary design; creating new public and green spaces; and instilling a collaborative approach to attracting investment and funding.
Seven strategic themes have been developed for the Broomielaw DRF and associated draft action plan:
(Y)our River Park: this is a proposal to create a world-class linear public space along both banks of the River Clyde. This continuous urban park would transform the river, kick-start development and become a key destination and attraction in the city centre. The aim is to create a quality urban park amenity characterised by water, green and public spaces activated by events and play spaces, recreation and cultural activity for all ages in all seasons, all weather, all day, for all Glaswegians and visitors.
(Y)our Urbanised M8: this aims to maintain the benefits of an urban motorway while reducing its negative impacts. Many consultees have highlighted the convenience and connectivity benefits of the motorway, however the majority of consultees recognised its negative impact - separating neighbourhoods, creating a physical barrier between the city centre, and its West End and North, and exacerbating the area's pollution and traffic congestion. Anderston Cross, for instance, is currently an unpleasant experience for pedestrians and cyclists, but it should be a great gateway to the city centre.
(Y)our Great Streets and Spaces: this theme seeks to respond to the car-dominated character of the district, with excessive spaces for motorised vehicles and address the shortage of quality green and public spaces. Broken connections need to be restored throughout the district and investment in public spaces and the physical environment is essential.
(Y)our Great Buildings: this theme promotes actions to respect Glasgow's historic built heritage with the highest quality contemporary design. Clear guidance about the desired qualities of new design will assist development, and the DRF promotes the development of character-specific areas with an emphasis on pedestrian and cyclist accessibility.
(Y)our Updated Mobility: this incorporates proposals to enhance the city centre's public transport and active travel networks to create a sustainable, walkable city, and will include a review of the City Centre Transport Strategy in the context of the DRF objectives and the recommendations of the Glasgow Connectivity Commission.
(Y)our Vibrant Broomielaw: this theme proposes the establishment of a lively, attractive mixed-use riverfront district and a significant uplift in the residential population so that the area becomes more lively, with more convivial night-time economy, leading to more viable amenities and a sustainable, walkable and activated district.
(Y)our Transforming Broomielaw: this focuses on the creation of agile policies and shared objectives to attract investment, secure funding and foster collaborative working in the district. Transforming this district cannot however be delivered by the council alone; this must be a truly collaborative partnership between all stakeholders. Despite the lack of public ownership, GCC confirm that they will look to work with partners to develop masterplan strategies for both sides of the river.
The Broomielaw DRF will become Supplementary Planning Guidance once it and the City Centre Strategic Development Framework is approved by the council. This will allow it to have the status of a material consideration, and it will be referenced and used to make development decisions in the district.
Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said "These ambitious plans will help the council and our partners to bring Broomielaw to its full potential and allow the area to take its proper place in the life of the city. This is a part of Glasgow that has enormous scope to influence the future development of the city centre and the river corridor, so please take the opportunity to help shape the final plans by taking part in the consultation on the Broomielaw District Regeneration Framework."
Graham Ross, Project Partner at Austin-Smith:Lord, said “It has been a rare privilege and big responsibility to progress the (Y)our City Centre project. We’ve been immensely grateful for the passion, energy and ideas of everyone who participated in helping shape the proposed regeneration framework for Broomielaw.
Broomielaw’s regeneration is long overdue. If Glasgow city centre is to fulfil its potential in the future, Broomielaw has a huge part to play. Broomielaw should be one of Glasgow’s signature 21st century urban destinations; a revitalised, mixed-use waterfront district that secures Glasgow’s position as a leading European city.
Revitalising the River Clyde and ensuring Glasgow city centre thrives are projects of national importance. Broomielaw’s renaissance should supercharge the city region’s inclusive economic growth creating jobs, cultural opportunities and city centre living for Glaswegians new and old.
Broomielaw is highly accessible with excellent connections to allow it to become a clean, green, walkable city centre district adjacent to the Scottish Event Campus. Broomielaw should redefine Glasgow city centre’s relationship to the Clyde becoming the centrepiece of a great city centre River Park with a beautiful and continuous riverside promenade.
We look forward to finalising the plans for the Broomielaw DRF in response to the ongoing public consultation.”
The draft Broomielaw District Regeneration Framework can be found at: https://www.glasgowcitycentrestrategy.com/broomielaw-district-regeneration-framework-public-consultation.htm.
**Photographs credited to 'MVRDV / Austin-Smith:Lord'**
By Graham Ross, Partner, Austin-Smith: Lord
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