The Walking Glasgow: urban walkability through appropriating laneways in the Blythswood gridiron
People walk in the city. They utilise and appropriate the built form to serve the spatial requirement for their social activities. The urban narratives tell the stories of urban development and the socio-political fabric of life(s) behind them. With interest in pedestrian spatial justice and urban informality, the project investigates Glasgow’s lanes’ potential to improve urban walkability.
Developed in the 1970s, the Blythswood gridiron has changed over time, often with the Georgian townhouse outliving its original use resulting in repurposing or replacing building and plot amalgamation. While lanes in different cities are adapted to suit contemporary lifestyles, Glasgow’s laneway remains a ‘non-place’ associated with service functions. The contemporary Blythswood gridiron display such ‘disappearing’ laneways, yet opportunity in the form of unbuilt, low buildings and constrained lanes in several Blythswood blocks.
Through the typo-morphological lens of Lefebvre’s ‘appropriation’ concept, the research-led design project suggests an alternative of laneways for the pedestrian walking experience, promoting the ‘festive’ ludic city. As cities embrace sustainable developments in the 21st century, the suitable and functional laneway that embraces ‘play’ married to specific morphologies could particularise cities as places and improve their overall walkability.
People Make Glasgow, one step at the time,