Glasgow: Back on Track


“Glasgow Back on Track” is a strategic concept which looks at the current urban fabric of High Street in Glasgow. It is based on 9 principles:

  • Re-duce our carbon footprint. In accordance with Global issues like climate change, a focus on the reduction of our city’s carbon footprint is a must. While designing our new High Street Strategy, a primary focus must be placed on eco-friendly, renewable energy and low-emissions public realms.
  • Re-link the city to the East End. For too long the city centre has neglected its eastern neighbour. A series of historical development to the wast and planning decisions demolishing huge areas of the High Street and eastern districts have decimated the area. In order for the street and its surroundings to succeed, a focus must be placed on reconnecting the city to its east: to break the “4th wall” of the city.
  • Re-lease the city from congestion and from reliance on cars. Air quality is a huge issue within Glasgow, as huge avenues are filled with car traffic. This is unhealthy and makes the street a highly undesirable place to be.
  • Re-define the meaning of High Street. High street is a place which hosts a ramshackle of typologies, densities and monuments. From the medieval cathedral to the derelict building. While no longer a street of central importance in Glasgow, High Street must find its new place in the city, a new defining role which makes the street a successful place to be.
  • Re-claim the street from the car to the people. Today High street acts as a major trunk road. We want a street that no longer belongs to cars, but belongs to the people and a new age of public transportation.
  • Re-introduce people to the High Street. The High Street has a potential to become a thriving place full of active businesses and store fronts but today large areas are in a dilapidated state. As we reclaim the street, the urban and architectural interventions looking to fix these issues must have a primary focus of putting people back on the street.
  • Re-vitalise the historic quarter of St. Mungo’s. Glasgow Cathedral is an architectural and historical marvel. The piece of history around which the city itself was built upon. The urban realm needs to keep up with it. Today it is in a sorry state: surrounded by busy car junctions and with no urban density it is neglected and isolated on the periphery of the city. This must change.
  • Re-connect the city centre to the rest of the city and beyond. While permeability issues lie within High Street surrounding area, the city itself must become more accessible to everyone. With the discontinued focus on urban planning around cars, the city must take measures to ensure that it has a well-served and well-connected infrastructure which can cope with the surge of people using public transport.
  • Re-new the city’s railways. While Glasgow already has an extensive railway network, there is a possibility that improving the city’s railway network could be the solution to many of the area’s problem.


by Colm Donnell