Threatened green space history

Some past parks issues covered by City Strolls  for reference.

Glasgow and West Parks and Green Spaces Action Network

Beware the Trojan Horse of cuddly capitalism
The business people, aided by public servants, have a pit of money (including ours) and manpower and also the business media, to push through any capital making, strategy they feel like and dress it up in any touchy feely gloss they care for – to shield them from public scrutiny.

Anger at scheme to tarmac city park for cars Vivtoria park history
A COUNCIL plans to turn part of a famous urban park into a 600-space car park, a move which has angered residents…

Is it time for a “real” public debate on Glasgow parks. Not a debate on the question. Are our parks being privatised? But one on the fact: Our parks are being privatised. What do we do about it!

Glasgow Lead The UK Race for Games
GLASGOW emerged yesterday as the likely British contender to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, with the prospect of a multi-billion-pound dividend for the city and the rest of the central belt. (Watch what happens in London Olympics, and see what will happen here)

What’s My Name, Fool?: Sports and Resistance in the United States If you’re young and you don’t know what this guy represents, if your a “not into sport” lefty, if you wonder what’s so -not brilliant – about the Olympic games, if you wonder what all the laissez-faire development in Glasgow is about..You could find this interesting.

Parks “R” Us The US, as usual showing the way

An opportunity needs to be identified to inform the public of what exactly is happening to their public assets. Business and the business of parks

Take heed Stoke on Trent, today – your park tomorrow
Protesters staging a sit-in at a park say they are not planning to move, five days into their demonstration.

Public insulation document
The public have been consulted, (insulted) So everything can go ahead as planned

Your green space next
You don’t know what you have until you lose it. There would never a more fitting statement concerning “The park”. We have learned to take the city park, so much for granted. And why not. It is our right. The park is a public space.

Save the Backpark!
Historically this has been a green space where kids ride bikes, play football, people walk dogs, foxes and bats hunt; where the railway embankment is covered in trees and bushes, and you can see the stars shine on a clear night.. Adjoining the backpark are Cathcart Allotments.

Friends of Kelvingrove
The Friends of Kelvingrove Park aim to maintain & enhance architectural and environmental features in one of Glasgow’s oldest and most popular public parks. The Friends of Kelvingrove Park aim to maintain & enhance architectural and environmental features in one of Glasgow’s oldest and most popular public parks.

Red Alert on open space
The idea of the Victorian park was to allow the public to escape the pollution of the city’s factories. Today we need our parks to escape the pollution and vagaries of the consumer society.

.Councils are waking up to the benefits of reintroducing permanent members of staff to parks,and are realising how new-style ‘park rangers’ can bring solid benefits – aesthetically, socially and financially – to our green spaces.

Historical contexts Colonisation/Parks
What then is is the privatisation of public property, public work force and public land -but colonisation.

Connections – Sports greed and colonisation
What happened in Athens, converting the city to world cup splendor “…In the last push of round the clock preparation alone, 13 laborers were killed at the service of making Athens, in the words of one Olympic official, ‘habitable for a global audience’ “.

The battle for the Green (History Glasgow Green)
The summer of 1931 was a riotous season in Glasgow. There were demonstrations involving anything from forty-five thousand to one hundred thousand angry protesters

Guide: How to get information from public bodies
What organisations can I get information about? What do I have a right to know? How do I get the information? What information can be withheld? What can I do if information is withheld? How to get environmental information Freedom of information in Scotland Feedback and comments

They work for you
Now that the election has been called, you can use this site to find out what your ex-MP did throughout the last parliament. We have performance stats, speeches, voting records and more…

Garnethill Development

Tea room press release













Remember Govanhill swimming baths

Govanhill Baths was effectively dosed by Glasgow City Council on 29th March 2001, against the wishes of the unconsulted local community-the majority of users of this long essential service on their doorstep. Glasgow’s ‘Govanhill Pool: Southside Against Closure’, the community protest group, undertook their own detailed survey to assess the impact.

Public insulation document
The public have been consulted, So everything can go ahead as planned

City parks to invite private companies to join in shake-up

The council is expected to approve a master plan for the city’s 74 parks which will allow private
companies to provide a range of facilities.

Response paper
Glasgow City Council Land Services Strategic Review of Parks and Open Spaces Public
Consultation – April 2004 Response Paper

Friends of kelvingrove
The City’s Parks Dept is engaged in a Public Consultation at present.
We are trying to get hold of a number of summaries, which we are hoping to discuss at our next
public meeting

Parkies, Meet the urban space rangers
Councils are waking up to the benefits of reintroducing permanent members of staff to
parks,and are realising how new-style ‘park rangers’ can bring solid benefits – aesthetically, socially
and financially – to our green spaces.

The creeping begins, as the cities jewels start to slip from its hands












Toilets And why not toilets! something for kids. (rollover) What happens to the playground in front of this building?


What’s the difference between the above property and the property below


Both are buildings in Kelvingrove park and both have been out of service for some time. Both are under the remit of the Common Good. That means they both belong to the people of Glasgow. The bandstand also has an important social and political history, a function that has been denied since it’s closure.

The toilets, are about to be lease to a private developer by the parks department

The bandstand has been waiting to be re connected with common use for about ten years.

So, the toilets, out of the blue, can be taken over by an individual or company, without a by-your-leave of the general public, who own the property.

The bandstand on the other hand has had a campaign running for years to reopen for public use. – Has had support from the local community – MP’s, Scottish Opera, various pop bands, Historic Scotland, and all manner of time, information, publicity and work spent on the project for the benefit of the “park user, owners “.

What’s the difference here between these two ideas:

Regarding the Toilets
If this goes ahead, it will mean the permanent removal of public land from Glasgow’s first public park. Once the land has been leased for private development, it will not be returned to public use in the future, but can be transferred to other commercial interests, who can apply to change its use at any time. (for all intensive purposes that means McDonalds or other franchises could move into our parks.) And if the Super size me school moves into the park at Gibson Street – What’s to stop more local schools being closed and more schools and building projects being situated in the parks? – If not us – answer nothing

The Bandstand
The bandstand is a community led project with the interests of the community and with the backing of democratic decisions of it’s members who are the public. [owners] Every part of this project has been open to public scrutiny, has had the publics best interests in mind. and would help to secure part of the common land and property for future generations, as this and the generations before have enjoyed.

Make no mistake. Private business in the park is not there for your convenience. (Why else would they do away with one). They are there to make money. No matter how, touchy feely, Fairtrade, organic or otherwise, they are at first. The franchises, will be chewing at the bit, to get into the parks. Business is accountable to no one, other than it’s shareholders and investors. The bandstand project is accountable to the public. The question is. Who are Glasgow City Council accountable to?

If you think the parks are open and free of business clutter, cars and sell-offs because we have a kind and concerned administration looking after your interests, you would be wrong. The only reason the park has maintained it’s open and public orientated nature for [all] to enjoy, is because of local folk, who give up there time to ensure this happens. Most park users are oblivious of this fact.

Now the park protectors need your help. If these plans go forward the parks will take on the same development frenzy the rest of the city is experiencing – the very thing we go to the park to escape. Our future mental health could depend on it.

We do not have the same fancy brochures to help save our parks from predatory business as they have for selling them. If we don’t start talking and spreading the word between each other to protect them, the parks will soon be run down to blight level, like so many parts of our city, in order that they can be saved for the profiteers, who are waiting the side-line.

It’s up to yourself mate!

Ideas for getting started——————————————–

Write to Cllr Colleran, Parks Convener, and request consultation on other proposed developments in the park, while asking about their intention to lease the disused toilets at Eldon Street and at the La Belle Place, at the corner of the park to private developers. Email: Or care of Parks Department.

Take a look at your local park. See what your not happy about and tell them about it.

Down load a petition, talk to other folk, ask them what they know – You will find they know nothing very likely, as most of these business plans, are done in secret.

PDF petition

Ask whoever you write to for a reply and/or acknowledgement of your letter, at their “convenience”

Director of Land Services Robert Booth BA(Hons), DMS, MIPD, DPM Richmond Exchange 20 Cadogan Street GLASGOW G2 7AD Phone: 0141 287 9100 E-mail:

Talk to your neighbours your MSP’s the whole of Glasgow’s parks are in the firing line.

We need to use our imagination here


The Bandstand

Msp Kelvin

Friends of Kelvingrove
The first public park in Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

Parks canpaign info

Victor Papanek The green imperative


Victor Papanek

Neil Maycroft Goldsmiths’ College, University of London.

Neil Maycroft currently teaches Contextual Studies at Goldsmiths’ College on both the Design Studies BA and the Design Futures MA. Previous lecturing in philosophy and sociology has focused his research interests onto the intersection of design studies with social theory, particularly in terms of material culture, autonomy and everyday life.

The Green Imperative by Victor Papanek, 1995 is published by Thames and Hudson, London. Paperback. ISBN 0 500 27846 6. Price £14.95.

Since the publication of Design for the Real World in 1969, Victor Papanek has been justly regarded as a pioneering advocate of design for human need and as a thorn in the side of the cosy world of mainstream commercial design.1 The book was championed by those who sought more human-centred and human-scale design. It was vilified and ridiculed by many of those who aimed to protect design from ethical and political scrutiny. Papanek’s new book The Green Imperative, while it builds consistently upon the issues of enduring interest to Papanek, is not likely to have such a divisive impact for reasons that should become clear below.

The book will certainly be devoured by students, writers and practitioners of design, who seek to further the cause of ecologically and ethically centred design. In this respect, The Green Imperative resonates with many contemporary themes of concern to designers. Apart from the explicitly ecological material, these include a renewed interest in vernacular architecture, in the concept of dwelling, in de-centralised production and in ethical consuming. Interestingly, such ideas also formed a part of the Zeitgeist at the end of the 1960s when Design for the Real World appeared.

The ecological content in The Green Imperative is wide-ranging and informative and, along with a focus on dwelling, forms one of the two main themes of the book. Papanek describes the damaging results of modern industrial practices on the ecosystem with passion. He includes some surprising details that add a human element to what could otherwise be regarded as dry statistics. For example, on average, three villages or towns have to be evacuated everyday somewhere in the world due to spillage of toxic chemicals and, there has been a major oil spillage into the oceans every second day for the last eighteen years (p.21).

After delineating such general ecological degradation, Papanek goes on to criticise the role that commercial design has played in this despoliation. He is particularly scathing about the complicity of designers in the production of unnecessary and wasteful consumer paraphernalia and their enslavement to the whims of the advertising and marketing professions. The result has been a design profession that ‘conforms, performs, deforms and misinforms’ rather than one that ‘informs, reforms and gives form’ (p 53). Papanek considers the environmental effects of various materials, techniques and processes in common use and goes on to suggest practical alternatives that designers may wish to consider. He is particularly critical of large-scale, highly centralised production, and argues for the expansion of a small-scale, de-centralised alternative. As usual, Papanek aims to lead from the front and he includes numerous examples taken from his own design work to illustrate his key points. In these respects, the book is both informative and useful.

The Green Imperative also has important and timely things to say to the consumers, or end-users as Papanek prefers, of design. The book features a checklist of questions that should be asked before a decision is made to acquire any designed good or product. These questions aim to interrogate the claims made by the promotional industries concerning the assumed convenience of consumer goods. For example, end-users should question the assumptions that smaller, more powerful, more complex, supposedly improved and overly packaged products are essentially better than the ones they currently use. The questions are posed in order to reveal the balance of malevolent or benign ecological effects of new products and, also to assess whether their use results in people becoming more dependent on further wasteful consumption or more autonomous in relation to the products that the market provides.

The ecological necessity of reducing our reliance on over-designed consumer goods, and especially their provision via the market ,underlies a further checklist of questions to be asked before buying products. Papanek urges us to firstly ask ourselves if we really need the item we are considering. If the answer is yes then a number of alternatives to buying should be considered. These include buying second-hand, borrowing, renting, leasing, sharing, co-ownership and buying in kit form. The book charts the recent expansion of such alternatives and particularly champions the sharing of infrequently used products. Sharing spreads cost and maintenance, whilst maximising use and encouraging co-operation and a sense of community.

When a product reaches the end of its usefulness, Papanek encourages us to consider alternatives to disposal. These include recycling, repairing and reusing. He particularly endorses the benefits of in-built Design for Disassembly, a design principle that could enlarge the effect of these alternatives.

Papanek argues that design should also be more ethical. He means this in two senses. Firstly, the design professions themselves should construct codes of ethics that are genuinely regulative, protective, specific and transparent to outside inspection. Such an approach would mean an end to the ‘self-serving’ codes of conduct that characterise the majority of modern professional design ethics. Secondly, both designers and end-users should ask whether a design helps or further marginalises disenfranchised and poor sections of society, if it eases pain, whether it aids environmental sustainability, and so on. This is a theme that has consistently run through Papanek’s writing for the past thirty years.

The hopeful end-result of considering the ethics and environmental impact of design is the development of a new design aesthetic which will imbue designed products with a set of ethical and ecological meanings. What form such an aesthetics will take cannot be delineated beforehand but, Papanek is adamant that this new aesthetic will be more meaningful and satisfying than that which characterises the bulk of commodities designed with the market and conspicuous consumption in mind.

The second major theme of The Green Imperative is that of dwelling. Papanek investigates the notion of dwelling from several angles: the sensory body and its relationship to space, the dehumanising effects of modern urban practice, and the sensual, social and ecological importance of vernacular architecture. He argues that we have gradually had our senses eroded in industrialised societies and that this has led to a loss of the experience of dwelling in favour of merely living in abodes that have little spirituality to their design. The modern house has become a functional receptacle for standardised consumer goods. Consequently, the design of houses has ignored the full importance of our senses. Little attention is paid to the ways in which subtle variations in lighting, sound, texture, smell and location affect our feelings, moods and experiences. Similarly, our modern houses pay scant attention to the relationship of the body to space. Our domestic space has had its symbolic aspects largely removed from it to be replaced by a strictly geometric and rationalised conception. Papanek contrasts this experience with other cultures, especially in Japan and Bali, where the sensory and spatial aspects of dwelling are of paramount significance.

Modern architectural and urban practices have, according to Papanek, resulted in cities that are too big, too polluted, overly car-accommodating and alienating. Some of the basic principles of ‘benign architecture’ have been surrendered to the dictates of speculative finance capital in its search for profitable sites. The sense of location, the aesthetics of site and notions of human scale are all required to reinvigorate the richness that urban living can provide. He invokes various ‘fundamental’ principles from mathematics, anthropology and psychology to underlie his vision of small, convivial and ecologically sustainable urban life. Again, such ideas mark an ongoing development of key themes in Papanek’s writing over the past three decades.

Key to the rediscovery of a sense of dwelling and to the conviviality of urban life is vernacular architecture. Papanek criticises several popular myths about this ‘architecture without architects’. These include the ideas that vernacular architecture is worthy simply because it is either historical, romantic, sacred or popular. He goes on to reject many common explanations of its development and evolves a complex explanatory web which mirrors his approach to explaining design in general (p136). Vernacular architecture displays certain features that Papanek believes should inform architectural design in industrialised societies: it is based on traditional knowledge and techniques, is usually self-built and features a high regard for craftsmanship. Furthermore, vernacular structures are easy to understand, are made of local materials predominantly, are ecologically sensitive, are of human scale and are unselfconscious. In many respects it is the antithesis of modern architectural practice in industrialised societies. Just as an ethically and ecologically informed design produces a more fulfilling and meaningful aesthetic so, vernacular architecture implies a more meaningful and authentic sense of dwelling. Papanek’s marshalling of an eclectic range of intellectual resources and personal reflections, to build his case, is always interesting and provocative.

The above summary of the main points of The Green Imperative should indicate the extent to which the book resonates with many contemporary themes of interest to designers. This makes its publication timely and a welcome addition to a growing resource of ideas that can inform ethically and ecologically committed design practice. However, this timeliness also explains why the book is unlikely to have the contentious and divisive effect that Design for the Real World provoked.

It is unlikely to be as contentious because the last decade has seen a proliferation of texts that use similar material and reach similar conclusions to Papanek. Whilst the green ‘moment’ may have passed in some disciplines or been industrially incorporated into so-called ‘green consumerism’, ecological concern is now a far more readily acceptable facet of design theory and practice than it was a decade ago. There have been a number of books that have explored the concepts of wasteful ‘consumer-led’ design2, the development of a green aesthetic3 and ‘green’ design4 which cover much of the same terrain as The green imperative. Ironically, some of these books have contributed to something of a Papanek renaissance by introducing his ideas to a contemporary audience. The book is less likely to be divisive because these days the heads of most commercial design groups will at least pledge allegiance to ecological and ethical credentials even if they do not actually practice what they preach.

Papanek’s writing on architecture and dwelling also enters an intellectual milieu that is sympathetically receptive. The ‘greening’ of the urban environment has been explored in the writings of the Gaia theorists and the ‘eco-city’ advocates. The revival of interest in ‘small is beautiful’ economics and de-centralised production, along with developments such as the growth in DIY culture, the allotment movement, and the expansion of Local Exchange Trading Schemes, all reverberate with Papanek’s ideal of vernacular, convivial and human-scale urbanism5,6. In these respects, The green imperative is a timely and informative addition to a growing body of knowledge.

However, the book is problematic in several ways. Firstly, the tone is often somewhat smug and preaching. One gains the impression that only Papanek, or those that have come into direct contact with him, has contributed towards ethical or ecologically sustainable design in industrialised societies. Papanek is certainly an important pioneer in these respects, but is not the lone hero these days that he sometimes presents himself to be.

Secondly, many may object to the eclecticism that characterises The Green Imperative. Papanek is a formidable polymath but, at times, his attempts to justify his ideas results in a very strange brew of references. Nietzsche, Freud, and Jung nestle beside Mumford, Sotsass and Philip Johnson, in a rather uncritical appropriation of any idea that seem to support the case he is making. It is ironic that he berates post modernism for falling into extreme relativism (p.11) whilst relying on such an eclectic jumble of science, pseudo-science, mysticism and incompatible political viewpoints. Similarly, his rejection of nihilism sits uneasily beside his attempt to claim the nihilistic flimflam of Memphis design for the tradition of Dadaism and its radical re-appropriation of the commodity form (p.55).

The main failing of The Green Imperative is its naivetÈ. This manifests itself in many forms but, I shall just mention just three of them. Firstly, there is a good deal of ecological naivetÈ apparent in some of Papanek’s prescriptions. For example, his endorsement of de-centralised production is too vague to be of much use. Papanek does not elaborate which types of production can and cannot be de-centralised in an ecologically benign manner. The ecological consequences of local, neighbourhood production of tyres, plastics or chemicals, for example, would be disastrous. Centralised production of certain materials and products is necessary and justified in order to exercise some kind of meaningful control and co-ordination over the productive process. Just because centralised industrial production as it currently stands is not ecologically benign does mean that it cannot be made so or, that de-centralised production is somehow essentially more ecologically sustaining. It is also clear that, in the foreseeable future, recycling will have to rely on centralised processes in order to maintain its ecological advantages. Similarly, Papanek’s implicit disurbanism could only be brought about with enormous ecological costs. Should we really embark on the dismantling of our cities because some behavioural scientists have calculated the size of ‘ideal’ communities or because tribes of Indian Langur monkeys split when they exceed five hundred (p112)? His ecological naivetÈ’ is also manifested in his call for the widespread replacement of product buying by self-assembly kit buying. One wonders where will the kits be manufactured, by whom and in what kinds of conditions?

The second kind of naivetÈ’ apparent in The Green Imperative is political. Papanek over-estimates the power of design in shaping the social relations of a society and provides little detail of how political power must be sought and incorporated into the societal changes he wishes to see. One gains the impression that by simply pointing out the ecological folly of the way we live, we will automatically reach a philanthropic consensus and so radically change the nature of our productive processes and consumption habits. There is little feeling in Papanek’s writing of the ways in which powerful vested interests have financial, military and political stakes which may well result in them acting in consciously damaging ways where the environment is concerned. For example, we may now in this country have reduced the damaging ecological consequences of coal mining but, this has been because we have chosen to import our coal from countries where it is mined by children in appalling conditions and with little environmental monitoring or intervention. Papanek speaks of the need to establish a link between design and social justice but, he provides little detail of how this may be realistically developed in a global economy with an ever-increasing geographical division of labour.

The main naivetÈ’ displayed in the book is over the issue of political economy. To a large degree, the first two points made above are really manifestations of this more general weakness. It is not just Papanek who has failed to get to grips with political economy. It is an obvious and persistent lacuna in much green debate. According to Papanek, the search for profit is ‘legitimate’ (p.138), yet he fails to appreciate that in order to secure profit the capitalist economy must continually expand. One of its chief means of doing this in our time is through the production of more and more commodities that must be then consumed in order to realise profit. When the search for profit runs up against concern for the environment, it is usually the environment that is sacrificed to the expediencies of maximising profit. There are also many people, including designers, who regard the search for profit as being far from legitimate, and who would insist on emphasising the economic relationship between generating profit and the worsening of those social conditions, which Papanek claims can be alleviated by considering the ethical implications of choosing to buy a particular product (p.54).

Similarly, Papanek’s preference for the term end-user rather than consumer also reveals his naivetÈ’. He argues that end-users need to regain the joy of owning as few material possessions as possible. It is a laudable sentiment. However, consumers are linked to acquiring high levels of material possessions in ways that Papanek underestimates. He adopts a rather basic view that ideological manipulation by greedy advertisers is all that binds people to mass consumption. This fails to recognise the political economy of consumption. For example, one reason why many people have substituted commodity replacements for many activities that they previously carried out for themselves (microwave ovens and pre-prepared food instead of cooking, televisions, home computers and videos instead of more autonomous or publicly-oriented creative pursuits) is because they have increasingly less free time to maintain, protect and develop skills and autonomous capabilities for themselves. Papanek states at one point that people working on factory assembly lines are probably not going to be inclined to participate readily in many meaningful or autonomous activities at the end of a long day. His proposes that building products from kit form would be more creative and satisfying than just passively buying. I would agree with this but, it overlooks two points: firstly, the massive reduction of meaningless, boring work would be an incredible boost to the development of the type of autonomous activities Papanek endorses. Reduction of working time would allow people to recover more fully from work and give them the time to engage in satisfying individual or local activities. The recovery of the abilities to do things for oneself would also result in lessening people’s dependence on ecologically wasteful commodity substitutes. Secondly, we could ask: would the mass production of self-assembly kits (including cookers, refrigerators, televisions and computers, which Papanek recommends p243) be any more meaningful or less stultifying than the assembly line production of the completed product? The answer is likely to be no, and the implication becomes clear: the main prerequisite for the development of the type of society that Papanek wants to see is a massive reduction in working time, particularly where repetitive meaningless and boring work is concerned. The redistribution of work would re-enfranchise millions of marginalised people, an ethically sound proposal in Papanek’s terms. These issues of political economy, working time and material culture have been explored in a much more convincing manner in commentaries outside of the design field7,8,9.

In conclusion, The Green Imperative is a welcome contribution to debates cast around the relationships between design, ecology and ethics. Its wealth of empirical detail and its optimism make it a valuable resource for those trying to steer an ethically and ecologically informed path through the world of contemporary professional design practice. This review does scant justice to many of the intriguing themes presented, such as the design abilities of the Inuit, the call for the return of the ephemeral to daily life, or the proposals presented for design education. Papanek should be congratulated for his decades long pioneering and exemplary approach to these important issues. However, for those wishing to pursue a deeper understanding of the role of design in advanced industrial societies, the book is disappointingly bereft of insightful analysis or plausible explanation.


1) Papanek, V. (1981) Design for the real world, Thames and Hudson, London.return

2) Whiteley, N. (1993) Design for society, Reaktion Books, London.return

3) Vale, R. & Vale, B. (1991)Green architecture, London, Thames and Hudson.return

4) Mackenzie, D. (1991) Design for the Environment, Lawrence King, London.return

5) Sherlock, H. (1991) Cities are good for us: the case for high densities, friendly streets, local shops and public transport, Paladin, London.return

6) Whyte, W.H. (1988) The city: rediscovering the centre, Doubleday, New York.return

7) Gorz, A. (1980) Ecology as politics, Pluto, London.return

8) Gorz, A. (1985) Paths to paradise: on the liberation from work, , Pluto, London.return

9) Lipietz, A. (1992) Towards a new economic order, Polity Press, Cambridge, UK.return


The future of Technics and Civilisation Lewis Mumford


The Tragedy of waste

The brute fact of the matter is that our civilization is now weighted in favor of the use of mechanical instruments, because the opportunities for commercial production and for the exercise of power lie there: while all the direct human reactions or the personal arts-which require a minimum of mechanical paraphernalia are treated as negligible.

The habit of producing goods whether they are needed or not, of utilizing inventions whether they are useful or not, of applying power whether it is effective or not pervades almost every department of our present civilization. The result is that whole areas of the personality have been slighted: the telic, rather than the merely adaptive, spheres of conduct exist on sufferance.

This pervasive instrumentalism places a handicap upon vital reactions which cannot be closely tied to the machine, and it magnifies the importance of physical goods as symbols—symbols of intelligence and ability and far-sightedness—even as it tends to characterize their absence as a sign of stupidity and failure. And to the extent that this materialism is purposeless, it becomes final: the means are presently converted into an end. [If material goods need any other justification, they have it in the fact that the effort to consume them keeps the machines running.

These space-contracting, time-saving, goods-enhancing devices are likewise manifestations of modern power production: and the same paradox holds of power and power-machinery: its economies have been partly cancelled out by increasing the opportunity, indeed the very necessity, for consumption. The situation was put very neatly a long time ago by Babbage, the English mathematician.

He relates an experiment performed by a Frenchman, M. Redelet, in which a block of squared stone was taken as the subject for measuring the effort required to move it. It weighed 1080 pounds. In order to drag the stone, roughly chiseled, along the floor of the quarry, it required a force equal to 758 pounds. The same stone dragged over a floor of planks required 652 pounds; on a platform of wood, drawn over a floor of planks, it required 606 pounds. After soaping the two surfaces of wood which slid over each other it required 182 pounds. The same stone was now placed upon rollers three inches in diam-ter, when it required to put it in motion along the floor of the quarry only 34 pounds, while to drag it by these rollers over a wooden floor it needed but 22 pounds.
This is a simple illustration of the two ways open in applying power to modern production. One is to increase the expenditure of power; the other is to economize in the application of it. Many of our so-called gains in efficiency have consisted, in effect, of using power-machines to apply 758 pounds to work which could be just as efficiently accomplished by careful planning and preparation with an expenditure of 22 pounds: our illusion of superiority is based on the fact that we have had 736 pounds to waste.

This fact explains some of the grotesque miscalculations and misappraisals that have’ been made in comparing the working efficiency of past ages with the present. Some of our technologists have committed the blunder of confusing the increased load of equipment and the increased expenditure of energy with the quantity of effective work done. But & the billions of horsepower available in modern production must be balanced off against losses which are even greater than those for which Stuart Chase has made a tangible estimate in his excellent study in The Tragedy of Waste.

While a net gain can probably be shown for modern civilization, it is not nearly so great as we have imagined through our habit of looking only at one side of the balance sheet.
The fact is that an elaborate mechanical organization is often a temporary and expensive substitute for an effective social organization or for a sound biological adaptation. The secret of analyzing motions, of harnessing energies, of designing machines was discovered before we began an orderly analysis of modern society and attempted to control the unconscious drift of technic and economic forces.

Just as the ingenious mechanical restorations of teeth begun in the nineteenth century anticipated our advance in physiology and nutrition, which will reduce the need for mechanical repair, so many of our other mechanical triumphs are merely stopgaps, to serve society whilst it learns to direct its social institutions, its biological conditions, and its personal aims more effectively.

In other words, much of our mechanical apparatus is useful in the same way that a crutch is useful when a leg is injured. Inferior to the normal functioning leg, the crutch assists its user to walk about whilst bone and tissue are being repaired. The common mistake is that of fancying that a society in which everyone is equipped with crutches is thereby more efficient than one in which the majority of people walk on two legs.

Lewis Mumford The future of Technics and Civilisation p23

Social effects of motorized transport Ivon Illich


Toxic Sludge is Good for You

Introduction to the British edition

by Robert Newman
Public affairs companies like to stay out of the public eye. They have to be invisible: their propaganda can’t work if you see it coming. This makes them, like the WTO or World Bank/IMF, extremely vulnerable to The Dracula Effect: expose them to daylight and they shrivel up and die … Except, unlike the WTO, World Bank or IMF, these firms are never exposed, never mentioned. Instead they’re granted near-total obscurity even as their stories razzle-dazzle the airwaves. Yes, there’s plenty of talk about spin, but only Whitehall spin. The debate is strictly confined to the industry’s small public-sector fringe.

The private propaganda industry, meanwhile, demands discreet handling by the news media. Demands it and gets it. How come? What’s that all about? What’s going on there?
On one level it’s just that newsrooms are very dependent on corporate propaganda including “free” video footage as well as more traditional press releases. It’s human nature always to deny to ourselves the extent of our shameful little dependencies. Especially if you want to keep getting your news-licks for free.
Newsrooms tell all their little stories in the light of one big story. That is, they take their cues from a grand narrative handed down by the rich and powerful. One such is that, as Prime Minister Blair once said, “the ideological battles are over” and corporate-led globalization “unstoppable”. But if that’s the case then why the need for all the private propaganda?
Another reason, then, why it’s never mentioned is because the industry’s very existence challenges the most sacred creed of our time: What Is Good For Big Business Is Good For The People. This is the central tenet of the “free trade uber alles” doctrine which currently has the whole world under lockdown. Those who seek to stay in the fold of the happy ideology – in the hope of one day presenting University Challenge, perhaps -had better not look at, say, Burson-Marsteller’s client-list.
Burson-Marsteller, one of the bigger crisis-management PR firms, were working with the Argentinian junta in the 1970s to touch up that country’s international image. And so, in his own way, was military dictator General Videla, as he busily airbrushed 35,000 unsightly activists from the national picture.

Burson-Marsteller worked for Union Carbide after its Bhopal pesticide plant leaked 40 tonnes of toxic gas instantly killing 2000 people. (It helps if you hum “Sympathy For The Devil” through this paragraph . . .) They covered for Exxon after Exxon Valdez, and helped save the nuclear industry after Three Mile Island. When, in 1992, BP was found pouring methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) into Hull’s coastal waters, Burson-Marsteller smoothed those troubled waters. (It remains unclear, however, whether the phrase “BP -Beyond Petroleum” was coined at this time, perhaps as a way of reflecting the move into methyl-ethyl-ketone.) A few years later, Burson-Marsteller began work for the Indonesian dictator Suharto, before tours of duty with BNFL and squeaky-clean Shell.
Now, by the twisted fundamentalist logic of New “triple-bottom-line” Labour, if Burson-Marsteller actions were good for Burson-Marsteller profits, then they must, by necessity, have been a good result for the people of Argentina and East Timor, for Alaskan fishing communities, and for the people of Bhopal, where, following Burson Marsteller’s work, the Indian Supreme Court dropped all charges against Union Carbide.


Gifts – Glasgow Parks Public Consultation – April 2004

Glasgow City Council Land Services

Strategic Review of Parks and Open Spaces

Public Consultation – April 2004

Response Paper


Glasgow’s parks and open spaces have provided opportunities for active and passive recreation, relaxation, play, peace and tranquillity for generations of Glaswegians. As the pressures of the modern world increase, it is vital that these opportunities are still available for all and it is therefore very important that the Council works to ensure the parks and open spaces service develops to reflect the changing needs of the city and its people.

Sustainable development – meeting our needs today, without affecting the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, is a significant challenge to councils, individuals, communities and businesses. Our parks and open spaces make a crucial contribution to the sustainability of the city and this public consultation document is intended to provide opportunities for everyone to help the Council ensure that the city’s parks and open spaces achieve their true potential.

Glasgow’s future will be increasingly based on tourism, finance, the media, technology and other services. Our parks and open spaces can play a key role in supporting this future by ensuring Glasgow remains a “dear green place”.


Councillor Aileen Colleran
Parks and Facilities Committee


Purpose of the Consultation

Glasgow City Council is presently undertaking a review of its parks and open spaces service. This consultation document sets out the main elements for consideration by all groups, agencies and members of the public who wish to express preferences for the way they would like to see the service managed and developed in the future.

You are invited to comment on a range of issues through a series of questions, which have been gathered from an initial analysis of the service.

It is important to the success of the review that the views and opinions of the public are actively sought and considered as part of the review process. This gives you an opportunity to help shape the parks and open spaces service to better meet your needs and preferences.

This consultation document contains a range of issues facing parks and open spaces which require your consideration. We would like to hear your views on the following:

• Have we addressed the right issues?
• What do you think we should do about them?
• Are there other issues that we need to look at?

Following this public consultation process a strategy document will be produced which will demonstrate how Glasgow’s parks and open spaces can be developed and improved to fully support the regeneration of Glasgow for both residents and visitors.

Please feed back your views to us by filling in this document, if you need more space, please continue on a separate sheet and include this with the document. When you are finished, please return to;

Parks Review
Glasgow City Council
G2 7BR

Alternatively, you can respond online at

The consultation period will close on Friday 9 July 2004.

All responses received by this date will be entered into a free prize draw for one of the following;

One Glasgow City Council Golf Season Ticket for unlimited play at all 5 courses for 1 year

One Block of 5 Horse riding lessons at Linn Equestrian Centre

3 pairs of Tickets for Live n’ Loud at Glasgow Green

5 Family tickets for the Glasgow Show at Victoria Park

A bouquet of Flowers delivered to your home from Glasgow Flowers (5)

**** To be eligible for the draw, please complete the section at the end of this document

All the comments and views we have received by 9 July will be considered and used to develop the new parks and open spaces strategy. The final strategy document will be published in autumn 2004.


1. Glasgow’s parks and open spaces provide a variety of different services and form a
fundamental part of the urban environment.
Parks and open spaces have:-
An environmental role.
An educational role
A role in providing for the recreation and leisure needs of the community.
A role in providing opportunities for passive leisure.
An ecological role
An economic role
What do you consider to be the most important role(s) of parks and open spaces?
What do you consider to be the most important role(s) of parks and open spaces?

2. Community involvement is one of the keys to success in the regeneration of our parks. This fosters ownership by the community and encourages people to respect and use their parks.
How could Land Services improve the level of community involvement in relation to parks and open space improvements?

Community involvement in relation to parks

3. As the Council develops the city, regenerating and renewing neighbourhoods, sometimes areas of parkland or open spaces can become isolated from local communities, no longer serving the purpose for which it was intended.
Should the Council remove some areas of greenspace if these areas could be replaced with alternative sites that would be more accessible to local people?

4. Land Services together with other partners promote and deliver a wide range of events and activities that are well supported by local communities and many draw a considerable number of visitors to the city. This is an important role as attracting more visitors and tourists has an impact on the economic health of the city and helps to consolidate Glasgow as a stylish destination for tourists
What could the Council do to encourage more community involvement in events and activities in parks?

5. The Display Houses at Queens Park, Tollcross, Botanic Gardens and Glasgow Green Winter Gardens offer visitors the opportunity of viewing extensive collections of tropical and subtropical plants, displayed within a glasshouse setting.
Do you think that plant display houses currently offer enough interest for visitors. If not, how could they be improved?

6. There are a number of children’s play areas sited within parks. These usually consist of fixed equipment such as swings, chutes and climbing frames.
What types of children’s play facilities would you like to see provided in parks?

7. Outwith the provision of formal traditional play areas, there is a need to provide suitable youth facilities in parks. The provision of facilities for skateboarding, BMX bikes and in-line skating have been provided in response to local demand. There are facilities at Queens Park Recreation Ground, Barrachnie Park, Orchard Park and Darnley with additional skate parks to be provided at Nethercraigs and Kelvingrove Park.
What types of youth facilities would you like to see provided in parks?

8. A major issue in maintaining play areas to a high quality is the problem of misuse and vandalism. This can often lead to items of equipment having to be removed or closed for safety reasons.
What measures do you think should be taken to combat problems of vandalism to play equipment?

9. Municipal golf is available at 5 courses in Glasgow on a pay and play basis and in recent years usage figures have been declining. The clubhouse facilities are in need of upgrading and considerable investment is required to improve comfort and facilities.
Should the Council continue to develop and promote golf as a recreational activity?

10. Horse riding is available at Linn Equestrian Centre and caters for all ages and abilities.
Should the Council continue to develop and promote horse riding as a recreational activity?

11. Outdoor activities that are currently provided within Glasgow parks during the summer are, pitch and putt, tennis and bowling. In general, usage figures have declined in recent years.
What other recreational activities would you like to see provided in parks?

12. Various surveys indicate that the public feel there is a lack of general amenities such as toilets and catering facilities in parks.
Would you support the Council entering into arrangements with commercial operators to provide; you support the Council entering into arrangements with
An enhanced golf service?
Expanded horse riding services?
Pony trekking?
Five-a-side football?
Café/Restaurant facilities?

13. The parks service also maintains farm and livestock operations in Pollok Country Park, Glasgow Green and Tollcross Park. These are popular visitor attractions but are only available in a small number of parks.
Do you think that there should be more animal and bird display areas within parks?

14. Recent surveys of both adults and children reveal that personal safety in parks is a concern. It is intended that the review will address this issue by developing local strategies to improve the feeling of personal safety in our parks and open spaces. The basic opening hours for our parks are traditionally from dawn till dusk, at the height of winter this can be from 09:00 till 16:00.
Do you agree that, where possible, parks that have gates should have them locked at night?

What measures do you think the Council could take to improve your personal safety in parks and open spaces?

15. Litter and broken glass is a problem in parks and open spaces and the Council spend considerable sums of money each year clearing litter from parks.
Can you suggest any ways in which the Council could enlist the help of local communities in assisting with the problem of litter in parks and open spaces?

16. Just over half of the people who took part in The Citizen’s Panel survey in autumn 2003 said that dog fouling was the poorest aspect of Glasgow’s parks. This is a difficult issue for the Council to deal with as it depends largely on the willingness of dog owners to be responsible and remove it themselves. There are already waste bins, dog exercise areas and enforcement initiatives undertaken in selected parks.
What measures do you think the Council should take to combat the problems of dog control and dog fouling in parks and open spaces?

17. Thinking about all aspects of Glasgow’s Parks
If there was one single change or improvement to be made to the Parks Service what would you propose?

18 . Roadside verges central reservations and roundabouts are considered an integral part of the greenspace network across the City. Many road verges throughout the city are in disrepair due to inappropriate parking practice by local car owners and as a result of damage done by vehicles.
Should the Council adopt a policy of replacing areas of grass verges and soft landscaping damaged by parked cars with hard standing areas?

19. A Play Area Improvement Programme is underway to identify old, derelict or poor quality play areas in need of upgrading or replacement to meet safety standards and to improve levels of provision in line with the City Plan standards. Until now, replacement and improvement programmes have been based on the provision of specially designed and constructed play equipment. There is an opportunity to consider other approaches such as home zones, where informal play facilities are designed into local streets, or to adopt an approach based on play landscapes rather than play equipment.
What should the priorities be for the improvement of children’s play provision?

20. Glasgow has a range of woodland areas consisting of trees in parks, trees in streets, new woodland plantings and older wooded areas. The Council is developing a City Woodland Initiative to address the woodlands and their management as a single resource.
Do you agree that the Council should work in partnership with other agencies to extend and develop woodlands in the city for environmental and leisure purposes?

21. Allotments are recreational facilities provided by the Council that enable residents to participate in gardening activities. The Council is working to develop partnerships with local allotment associations aimed at improving the management, quality and layout of allotment holdings. Horticultural advice is available from Land Services to plot holders and allotment associations.
How can the Council best support the development of allotments in the City?

22. Thinking about all aspects of parks and open spaces.
Are there any other aspects of parks & open space maintenance that you would like to see changed or improved?

23. Glasgow’s parks and open spaces contain a rich variety of landscapes ranging from designed parks such as Kelvingrove and Queens Park to the natural landscapes of Dawsholm and Pollok Country Park. Within these environments there is a vast range of habitats and species in woodlands, ponds, rivers, wetlands and meadows.

Land Services works in partnership with Education Services and a number of other agencies to develop various environmental education and awareness programmes.
There is also an Environmental Centre in Tollcross Park that focuses on raising awareness of environmental issues and promoting education to residents and visitors.
Should the Council continue to extend the range of environmental interpretation and information services that it provides throughout the city?

24. Signage and environmental interpretation is important to assist visitors understand the purpose and rationale behind providing wildlife conservation sites. Good interpretation leads to a better visitor experience and raises people’s awareness, which increases their enjoyment and ensures that heritage is passed on to future generations.
How could signage and interpretation of wildlife and conservation sites be improved?

25. There are currently two designated Local Nature reserves in Glasgow, Hogganfield Park and Bishop Loch. Through Land Services involvement with wildlife conservation areas, there has been a notable increase in several plant and animal species. Previous surveys have highlighted the general public’s desire for further wildlife conservation sites in the city and its parks.
Can you suggest ways in which local communities could become more involved in the management and development of identified nature conservation sites?

Are there any other aspects of the management of Glasgow’s ecology and environment that you would like to see changed or improved?


26. Within Glasgow there are 32 burial locations for which the Council have maintenance responsibility. However currently there are only 5 locations with the potential to accommodate new burial lairs.

Many memorial stones in the city’s graveyards have been vandalised or otherwise damaged. Whilst Glasgow City Council has overall responsibility for the safety of the cemetery, the Council do not own the headstones. The owners of the memorial are normally the family of the deceased. In many cases there may not be an identifiable owner to deal with any damage.

There have been complaints from the public regarding the poor quality and variety of memorials available from the council. This has led to an increase in unauthorised memorabilia throughout the cemeteries which creates problems for access, ground maintenance and health & safety.
Do you believe that the Council should be stricter in allowing only particular kinds of memorials and headstones to be placed on or around graves?

Would you support the Council removing non-permanent memorials from graves, after a specified period of time, where they have become unsightly?

27 .One of the major problems facing cemeteries is vandalism, this includes toppled headstones, flower beds being destroyed, graffiti and stolen or burned out cars.
Would you support the Council in using powers under the restorative justice scheme to make good any damage caused by vandalism?

28. There have been regular requests from members of the public who have been unable to tend family graves, for the Council to introduce a grave tending service. The type of service that could be made available would involve headstone cleaning, planting out, and tending to plants.
Would you support the introduction of a grave tending service for which a charge would be made?

29. Due to a lack of lair space, consideration has to be given to alternatives. One such alternative could be woodland burials where only one interment takes place and a tree is planted to mark the area. This is a new concept in burial management.
Should the Council consider developing facilities for woodland burials within Glasgow?

30. The environmental and visual value of cemeteries to the local community can be important. There can be environmental benefits in turning old burial areas into wildlife reserves, increasing bird and other wildlife population, creating a valuable resource, which enhances leisure and educational possibilities for the community. This process does not impact on graves visited by mourners.
Should the Council develop cemetery and burial grounds as habitats for nature conservation as well as their primary purpose?

31. Land Services are responsible for Linn Crematorium in the south west of the city and Daldowie Crematorium in the east of the city.

The time that is allowed for cremation services is an issue often raised by relatives of the deceased, particularly where there are several cremations booked in succession. A time of 30 minutes is allocated per service but a range of factors contribute to this sometimes being insufficient. These factors include the custom to meet and greet prior to, or after the service, the funeral cortège not arriving on time and comprehensive religious services being carried out at the crematorium rather than at the church.
Do you support the idea of extending the length of time for cremation services even if this were to increase the cost?


Are there any other aspects of the management of Glasgow’s burial and cremation service that you would like to see changed or improved?


Are there any other comments you would like to make about the Review of Glasgow’s Parks and Open Spaces?



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If you are interested in taking part in further research and consultation in relation to Glasgow’s Parks and Open Spaces Service, please delete as appropriate. YES / NO
Land Services

Glasgow City Council, Richmond Exchange, 20 Cadogan Street, Glasgow G2 7AD
PHONE 0800 027 7362 E-MAIL

If you would like additional copies of the Response Paper, please contact Glasgow City Council at
Freephone 0800 027 7362. Large print versions can also be provided on request.

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