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Yasmin Ali

Urbanism // Design

Academy of Urbanism Glasgow Congress - Day 1 - Orientation - 11th May

May 15th, 2011

The Academy of Urbanism welcomed its sixth Annual Congress north of the border for the first time on Wednesday, with an introductory reception and coach tour setting off from its main venue at The Lighthouse, Scotland's centre for Architecture & Design.

After introductory speeches by AoU's chairman Kevin Murray and GCC's Bailie Liz Cameron and Head of Planning Alisdair MacDonald, delegates departed for the study tour - a whistlestop coach tour around many of the city's key sites. The coach headed out west, pointing out some of the key historic features of Glasgow's grid-iron street structure, before reaching its first stop at Glasgow Harbour. Here, at the riverside, visitors were treated to a first-look of the new Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid, before the landmark project opens to the public in late June. After a look round - both from the exterior and upper interior gallery - we set off for the other end of the city, heading East towards the garden suburb of Pollokshields, which was nominated for an AoU Neighbourhood Award for its unique character, diversity and quality of built environment and form.

Thestudy tour also made a stop at the Crown Street Development, in the new Gorbals, whose approach to mixed tenure quality housing is taken as exemplary to other regenerative projects in the UK. We heard how the area is heading for its third phase in development, boosted by regeneration measures in the East in time for the Commonwealth Games. Lastly, the bus tour headed round some of the key strategic sites in the East under Games development. Many delegates remarked how much Glasgow had changed since their last visit: the advent of the Games sees more rapid growth and development in areas much in need of some positive effects of urban regeneration. The completion of the M74 project in 6 weeks will complete the roads infrastructure linking the East to the rest of the city, and complementing these new strategic developments underway.

The day concluded with the final stop at Peoples' Palace at Glasgow Green, which was the venue for the evening reception hosted by AoU in conjunction with Clyde Gateway. The evening also included the launch of Kelvin Campbell's book 'Massive Small', in advance of its official launch in London on the 19th of May. The book  investigates alternative forms of planning, anditself explores interesting modes of participation through its genesis - based on an 'open-source' model, and conceived through blogging. More on the project can be found here -

// With Thanks to The Academy of Urbanism

Congress review to follow




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