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Yasmin Ali

Urbanism // Design

AoU Congress - Day Talks, Thursday 12th May

May 17th, 2011

Last Thursday formed the main day of talks for the sixth Annual Congress of The Academy of Urbanism, held at the Lighthouse in Glasgow.

The initial morning session focused on Glasgow's City Narrative - tracing its Strategic Vision given by GCC's Executive Director Gerry Gormal, to the national perspective from The Scottish Government's Chief Planner Jim McKinnon, and rounding off with a community perspective given by social entrepreneur Lord Andrew Mawson.



The morning session resumed after a short recess to focus on the sub-theme of Neighbourhood Stories, chaired by Professor Brian Evans of the Mackintosh School of Architecture, who introduced the four speakers, each with a unique and informed perspective on urban regeneration, as enacted at the neighbourhood scale. With the overarching theme of Congress as 'Liveable Neighbourhoods', talks centred on different aspects of improved quality of life. Liz Davidson, Project Director of the Merchant City Townscape Heritage Initiative, gave a lively illustrated talk on the regeneration efforts of the Merchant City area, including public realm improvements, community engagement and action, dealing with crime and attracting creatives to the area, all of which have vastly improved the area for residents and visitors. Carol Tannahill, Director of The Glasgow Centre of Population and Health (GCPH), gave an informed lecture on the findings of the GoWell Study, linking health and mortality indicators to a need for social reform led by urban regeneration.

Chief Executive of  Clyde Gateway explaned the role of the Urban Regeneration Corporation in leading development for The Commonwealth Games 2014, and its positive effects - both planned and in motion - for Glasgow East neighbourhoods within the catchment. Arie Voorburg of Arcadi gave a Dutch perspective on particular aspects of financing social renewal, speaking earnestly of the dangers of 'social apartheid' sometimes self-imposed on neighbourhoods, caused by development stagnation and poor living conditions calling for innovative mechanisms for reform.

Read on for the afternoon events...

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