The Broomielaw: Mixed-Use Development in Glasgow, Scotland

Isley, Nathan Charles (1992) The Broomielaw: Mixed-Use Development in Glasgow, Scotland. Master of Architecture thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The aim of this urban design project is to understand and manage the growth of a part of Glasgow. Successful plans for growth must recognise the economic and social aspects of a city in addition to providing a design framework for the form of the city. Principles for sound growth will be applied to the Broomielaw area of Glasgow's city centre since it is the next office expansion area. Three design proposals for the Broomielaw by local and national architects will be evaluated as will the policies of the City of Glasgow Department of Planning. The effect of the Planning Department's policies on the form of the Broomielaw is demonstrated by these three proposals. Alternative policies will be proposed in this document and an urban design proposal that complies with the principles of these new policies will be created to demonstrate the intended nature of new construction in the Broomielaw. The city's health, as a whole, is an important focus of the proposal. Issues of urban form, architecture, economics, planning policy and the distribution of uses in the area of growth will be evaluated and regulated according to the effect on the health of the city. Cities sometimes grow to enormous size and become unmanageable, but a large city is not inherently inferior to a small one. A large city should be substantially superior to a small one because of the principle of economies of scale: a group of people gathered in a city will enjoy convenient employment opportunities, competitive prices and cultural and social institutions that people who live in towns can not afford. A large city should provide more of these benefits than a small one, but this can only happen if growth, however slow or fast, is managed and directed to continually improve and strengthen the city. In this respect, a larger city is a better city. A city grows only if people find it an appealing place to live and work. The aim of urban design is to provide these attractions. If city growth does not include an attractive environment, then the growth will be short-lived. It is important to guard against short-sighted growth plans in the Broomielaw so that the city will not become less attractive in its new form than it is now. An area of a city without the qualities and attractions that one expects to find is a definite liability to the city and is a deterrent to growth. Growth should not be encouraged for growth's sake; it should be encouraged because it is aimed at providing its citizens with a better life. A better life may include convenient shopping, public transportation, hospitals, schools, neighbours, entertainment, or employment opportunities. A city can provide something for everyone. The outline of the investigation: The ideal city: Identify the best qualities to be found in any city. Lively streets and the convenience of shops, entertainment and services are the foundations of great cities. Special buildings like theatres as well as common buildings like offices should be distributed evenly throughout the city to ensure that each district of the city maintains a high standard. The most interesting and beautiful cities also have districts of unique and identifiable forms or patterns. Identify the area or areas preferred (by the free market) for growth. Buildings should not be constructed if no demand for them exists. Such buildings will remain empty until that demand exists; new buildings do not create a demand. Buildings built for any other reason than as a response to a demand will be a burden to the public or private owner. The free market, not the local government, must decide on the area for development. The example of London's Docklands shows that construction for other motives (to beautify derelict land, to attempt to boost a local economy) may have disastrous consequences. Identify the goals for the development. The goals shall take into account the site character and conditions and the role the district will play in the fabric of the city. Form a strategy that will accomplish the goals. The strategy will be based on the economic conditions, the proposed uses of the district and the urban form potential of the site. Identify the types, locations and dimensions for urban spaces in the district. The types of urban spaces will depend on the density of development, the types of tenants in the area, important connections with the rest of the city and the pace of development. Implement guidelines to foster development that follows the intent of the design. These regulations should be strict enough to ensure that the spirit of the design will be captured in the development, but not so strict as to stifle variety in the buildings. At this scale, architectural regulations should be kept to a minimum. Regulations should not seek to determine the form of the architecture where it does not significantly affect the quality of the urban spaces and should not seek to determine architectural style. Within the regulations, flexibility and creativity are encouraged. A lively atmosphere and carefully considered urban form are the most influential factors affecting future growth. A vibrant and interesting city is a successful city and people will choose to live and work in that type of city. This success will nurture growth.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Architecture)
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: Tony Vogt
Keywords: Architecture, Urban planning
Date of Award: 1992
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1992-74828
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2019 15:58
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2019 15:58

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