Designing the streets of the future: The Avenues Programme, Glasgow

Cox, Becki (2024) Designing the streets of the future: The Avenues Programme, Glasgow. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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There is a pressing need to transition urban areas towards a more sustainable way of life, but the scale of the challenge is significant. Streets are the foundation of a city’s urban fabric and play a critical role in the transition to urban sustainability. The aim of this research was to investigate the processes taking place during the conceptualisation and design of a contemporary street, and to examine what the implications of these processes are for longer-term transitional change. The thesis makes theoretical contributions to the transitions and urban design governance literature, as well as methodological and practice-oriented contributions in the form of a novel analytical framework for the design and analysis of mixed-use streets of the future. The focus of this research was the Avenues Programme in Glasgow: a transformative investment programme seeking to regenerate a network of streets across the city centre. The pilot project was completed in 2019 on Sauchiehall Street, a busy, mixed-use retail street and movement corridor. Sauchiehall Street thus offered an ideal location to examine how the process of conceptualising and designing a street can shape the infrastructure that is constructed, then in turn how the design of the infrastructure can shape the instinctive behaviour of those using it. This research takes the form of a mixed methods case study. An initial process (qualitative) phase comprised document analysis and semi-structured ‘elite’ interviews. This was followed by an observational (quantitative and qualitative) phase capturing instinctive behaviour at key pieces of street infrastructure. The creation of a novel analytical framework, an original contribution based on socio-technical transition theory, provides the means to analyse not just how this particular street is functioning, but the implications of street design more broadly for enabling behavioural transitions in the future. This thesis argues that contemporary mixed-use streets are key to bringing about sustainable urban transitions but that to do this, they must be designed to enable not just ‘place’ and ‘movement’, but also thriving public life. Creating these streets of the future requires those entrusted with the design and construction of them to be ‘knowing’ and aware of their disciplinary biases. A regeneration ‘champion’ can be instrumental in ensuring effective urban design governance, but urban design and engineering must be properly integrated in conceptual and written form to ensure that infrastructure design is not inadvertently undermined.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Supervisor's Name: White, Professor James T., Mcarthur, Dr. David and Livingston, Dr. Mark
Date of Award: 2024
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2024-84252
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2024 10:53
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2024 09:34
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.84252

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