Covid-19 has already reshaped our towns and cities, changing how we live, work, and play. But to tackle the wider climate and nature emergency, our recovery must go further, rebuilding stronger communities and more pleasant environments. The city must be at the heart of the green transition, to showcase how we can bring about a thriving low-carbon life.
To that end, Common Wealth has collaborated with the Architectural Association to visualise how a Green New Deal-led recovery could transform Glasgow. One of the barriers to achieving change is that too often it sounds to abstract and impossible to imagine. As such, this project does not seek to provide a comprehensive policy roadmap; rather, it seeks to stimulate discussion and generate policy ideas through providing images around what transformative change could look like in practice.
Glasgow was selected for this project as Scotland’s largest city is set to host the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, next year, marking a seminal moment for the city’s sustainable transformation and a key test of the UK’s wider climate ambitions. Further, the just transition offers an opportunity to combine the twin goals of the Green New Deal, securing economic and climate justice together, to tackle poverty while moving to a net-zero economy.
In the wake of Covid-19, a Green New Deal-led recovery is more urgent than ever. Transformative, but necessarily so, in contrast with the true extreme: a continued willingness to tweak rather than transform a status quo driving us deeper into crisis. Ambitious action can ensure that Glasgow leads the way in a just transition.
While the work presented in this project represents Common Wealth and Groundlab, we would like to express our gratitude to the following people, networks and organisations for taking the time to provide their thoughts, feedback and support throughout the development of the project: Malcolm Fraser, Andy Kerr (Climate KIC), Aled Thomas (Climate KIC), Samuel Gardner (Scottish Power), Katherine Trebeck (Wellbeing Economy Alliance), Martin Avila (Kinning Park Complex), Craig Dalzell (Common Weal), Chris Morgan (John Gilbert Architects), Paul Sweeney, Rhiannon Valentine-Spear (Glasgow City Council), Graham Hogg (Lateral North), Laurie Macfarlane, and Megan Joy Barclay.