Our Springburn: community-led planning and design
In the preface to the Our Springburn report, Kevin Murray wrote:
“Springburn is a hugely distinctive place in Glasgow that justifiably conjures powerful images as a place of industry and creativity, of character and community.
Famed for the creation of locomotives that served the whole world in the industrial era, and for the Springburn Park and Winter Gardens, the neighbourhood and its community has felt overlooked and undervalued since the introduction of the divisive Expressway during the 1970s and 1980s, alongside the gradual closure of many of the traditional industries and the demolition of the Springburn Public Halls, designed by William B. Whitie of Mitchell Library fame.
Community on the rise
But the ‘post-industrial’ community of Springburn is coming together to address the challenges and begin transformational change. In recent years there have been several initiatives:
- to address the heritage of the Winter Gardens and Park
- to have community events and an on-site community village set up (including a community-run/social enterprise café) at the old park’s depot in Springburn Park.
- to work with the diverse ethnic communities in the area
- to undertake art and public art projects with the community
- to introduce a community-facing College
These many strands of community activity have been brought together by a multi-partner Regeneration Forum, convened by Springburn Community Council, to create an Action Plan using the community charrette process.
The Forum partners include Glasgow Kelvin College, NG Homes, Springburn Academy, Scottish Police, Springburn Shopping Centre, the Winter Gardens Trust and Glasgow City Council. They bid for resources from diverse sources in 2018. They were lucky to obtain £10k from NG Homes, then £40k from the Scottish Government Making Places programme to undertake a community-led planning and design exercise. Springbrun Winter Gardens Trust supported the with a successful funding bid for £9,000 from Glasgow City Council Area Partnership fund and taking the lease of the Community Hub in Springburn Shopping Centre.”
Kevin Murray Associates, along with Willie Miller Urban Design and Community Links Scotland were appointed to facilitate and support community involvement in the process, and ensure their ideas are correctly represented in a coordinated action plan. We have worked with KMA on many occasions over the past twenty years, notably on projects in Glasgow including the Royston Community Vision and Strategy, the Port Dundas Charrette, Maryhill Town Centre Action Plan and the Regeneration of Laurieston Gorbals.
Community Planning Workshops
The community workshops were held at the Springburn Community Hub over two days in March 2019. They were well attended with over 200 people involved, ranging from local residents, young people, community organisations, traders, agencies like the police, housing associations and the Council.
Key Action Themes
The community planning exercise generated a wide range of projects that fell into the following nine themes:
These themes were consolidated into four areas for action, namely:
- Springburn Town Centre
- Springburn Green Spaces and Connections
- Connecting the Communities
- Community-led Facilities and Activities
Responsibility for implementation does not fall to any one organisation but is more about the collaboration between many. There is a role for a community organisation to facilitate this, and to lead on taking forward some of the projects. This will likely be in the form of a Community Development Trust that is open to community members. In essence, this means the community at large have ultimate control and empowers them to shape a new Springburn.
Through workshops with the community, we devised a spatial strategy for Springburn that could strengthen the core of the town centre through intensification of activity and facilities. This could be achieved by creating better linkages with communities and critical organisations such as Glasgow Kelvin College, local schools, shopping and leisure facilities.
Green space is a vital asset and plays a crucial role in helping to connect and join Springburn together as well as serve as places for health, wellbeing and community. These spaces are also routes to the town centre, and it is essential that these t feel safe and easy to use through good lighting and signage.
Within the overall strategy, there were 48 individual projects. The focus of WMUD’s work was streetscape projects for Springburn Road, accessibility proposals around the Job Centre and Springburn Station and green linkages and projects connecting Springburn Park to Eastfield Park.
Springburn Road Streetscape: creating public space (indoor and outdoor) that can be used for civic activities, events and celebrations. This includes public realm works, traffic speed reduction, and creating opportunities for testing running events, traffic-free days and pedestrian spaces.
Job Centre, Springburn Station and College connections: this proposal is to provide greenspace between the Jobcentre Plus and railway lines. The project could create a community wood and access route retaining wildlife habitats. Additionally, opportunities for an outdoor nursery and play area and connecting to the station. A new could include a bridge, providing direct access between the College and the town centre.
Reconnecting North Springburn: using greenspace to stitch together the northern part of Springburn. This reconnects parts of the community, links up community space and amenities, and provides greater access to green space for health and wellbeing than before.