Glasgow – Mansfield Park Redevelopment
Mansfield Park is located in the heart of Partick, one of the original ancient villages of Glasgow, which grew up around a series of mills on the River Kelvin and which was subsequently closely linked to the rise of heavy industry on the River Clyde. There is a strong sense of identity in Partick, arising from the distinctiveness and cohesion of the communities whose livelihoods were tied to the shipbuilding and heavy engineering industries which lined the Clyde.
Mansfield Park became an open space in the late 1970’s when the Scottish Development Agency implemented a land renewal project on the site. The surrounding area has seen significant improvement through a programme of renewal undertaken by Partick Housing Association between the mid 1970’s and the 1990’s. The Park itself is undoubtedly showing signs of age, not only in terms of wear and tear but also through changes in the surrounding environment, levels and types of use and the impact of traffic and parking. On a different level, the form of the park, the materials used and the overall design fall far short of contemporary expectations of what an urban park could or should be. However it still fulfils an important role as an open space and is, in effect, the neighbourhood park for Partick.
Although the park is not actively used by large numbers of people, local people value it as an open space and in particular, as a place to meet friends or neighbours and as a place to play football.
The park is also considered as a rare piece of open level ground which is suitable for events; the recently established farmer’s market that is held in the park has proven to be very popular and a new Partick market is being developed that is likely to take place every second weekend. Other activities include events held here during the West End Festival and the annual pubs football tournament. Although these events only occupy the park occasionally, they illustrate the great potential of the space as a gathering point and a place for a diverse range of activities.
The context of the park will change to some extent over the next few years as a result of the redevelopment of shops and other premises on the south side of Dumbarton Road opposite the study area. These buildings will be replaced by a four-storey mixed use development of flats, retail units and employment space.
In 2002, Partick Housing Association commissioned Willie Miller Urban Design and Drew Mackie Associates to initiate a process of community consultation leading to a programme for the Mansfield Park Redevelopment as a community leisure and recreational space. The findings of this study, which were previously issued to landscape architecture practices, suggested that there was a desire for the improved space to become a sub-divided space which accommodated a broad range of specific activities rather than an unstructured multi-purpose space. This is the starting point for the proposed commission. We have been working with the local community in the redesign of the park through workshops leading to the production of initial proposals for its transformation. An exhibition of this work was recently held in Partick Library and the Stewartville Street Annexe.