What are we thinking about?

Evolution through necessity and the human spirit. People are reconnecting with each other in non commercial activities. The animals are starting to breath once more, the rivers are cleaning themselves, the sea is regaining strength, asthmatics underneath the fly zones are breathing easier, the sky is bluer, the fish are restocking. Most animals are wandering freer, apart from us… What lessons need to be learned here and how quick do we need to learn them? Is that not the questions we need to be thinking about now, at least part of the time?.

At the local level
The city fathers are the ones who make the decisions for us, these days we call them the city council. And the incompetence demonstrated in the last 50 years can not be allowed to continue. Previous decisions created the Glasgow effect widening the poverty gap to creating disengagement for ordinary people whilst throwing cash and support to business. The decisions made today for the planned recovery of this crisis will affect our children grandchildren and great grandchildren for decades to come. Therefore it is an imperative and matter of survival that ordinary people are included and “prioritised” in these decisions over “business”.
The other extremely important imperative is getting ourselves involved and keeping control of the narrative of this dialogue.

The value and life of a park – Public discussion on our parks

Kelvingrove barriers

Every so often we are, if you even know about it, consulted by Glasgow City Council, about what we want in our public parks. At the last consultation I don’t remember the public agreeing that we should have much more in the way of lock-out festivals and expensive, ticketed, gigs, taking up great swathes of our park space over the summer period when we need the park most. The problem with these consultations is is that they just seem like exercises in get consensus to allow more commercialisation of the park.

The problem is as we see it is. The public do not just need consulted in these matters, we need to be involved in the discussion that leads to decisions. And to be involved in the discussion we need also to be aware of all of the facts relating to not only to the decisions made in our behalf, but also the longer term impact that these decisions will have on our green space.

The value of parks needs to be equated by more than the shallow monetary value put on them and the superficial business orientated consultations which add up to the same thing. The city administration and public need to start taking these thing seriously and understand the real value that is attached to our city parks.

When somebody tells you “Nobody uses it” “The parks have to pay for themselves”  along with the sometimes pathetic excuses used to allow building on green space by developers and city administrators alike. We need to, (particularly our young who have most to lose,) be able to give them a cost benefit analysis on our green space and on how parks more than pay for themselves by:

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Detoxing the environment

The production of oxygen

The removal of carbon dioxide and other toxins

Creates water drainage and anti-flooding

Wild life habitats.

Solar energy

Benefits for mental health.

The vistas and sense of space as a release from manic traffic.

A space to exist as a family unit. Reduces friction, stress and family break-ups.

Escape from city stress that leads to crime and violence.   

Building block for a sense of community

Autonomous space equality for everybody.

No commerce.

Safe for bikes, safe for football, amateur sports, productions, events, physical space 

Freedom of speech Speakers Corner. Tradition of protest, Rally’s

Last bastion of space for the poorest in our communities.

The countryside in the city

An excellent recipe for childhood education, physics and science in nature

Stagnant ponds could be rejuvenated by solar power fountains. And introducing the person on the street to science…

The park belongs to no one and to everyone.

Look at just one element of our parks, trees.

Evergreen trees can be used to reduce wind speed (and usefully, loss of heat from your home in the winter by as much as 10 to 50 percent.)

Trees absorb and block noise and reduce glare. A well placed tree can reduce noise by as much as 40 percent.

Fallen tree leaves can reduce soil temperature and soil moisture loss. Decaying leaves promote soil microorganism and provide nutrients for tree growth.

Trees help settle out and trap dust, pollen and smoke from the air. The dust level in the air can be as much as 75 percent lower on the sheltered side of the tree compared to the windward side.

Trees create an ecosystem to provide habitat and food for birds and other animals.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses, such as sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, from the air and release oxygen.

One large tree can supply a day’s supply of oxygen for four people.

A healthy tree can store 13 pounds of carbon each year – for an acre of trees that equals to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide.

Each gallon of gasoline burned produces almost 20 pounds of carbon dioxide.

For every 10,000 miles you drive, it takes 7 trees to remove the amount of carbon dioxide produce if your car gets 40 miles per gallon (mpg); it will take 10 trees at 30 mpg; 15 trees at 20 mpg; 20 trees at 15 mpg; and 25 trees at 12 mpg)

Trees help reduce surface water run-off from storms, thus decreasing soil erosion and the accumulation of sediments in streams. They increase ground water recharge and reduce the number of potentially harmful chemicals transported to our streams.

An acre of trees absorb enough carbon dioxide in a year to equal the amount produced when you drive a car 26,000 miles.

Readers of City Strolls will have been listening to this over the last ten years. “The parks are in the process of being privatised” The problem is what citizens are unaware of the business developments that have been been happening over that time, untill they see the barriers going up around their park.

Recently Edinburgh city council deemed the hoardings closing off the view of Princess street gardens for a concert as being inappropriate. The hoardings in question were removed within an hour of the councils edict.

Maybe the start of resistance to the kind of  pay per view being enforced on the access of public spaces. Something we have seen increasingly across Glasgow parks and common spaces. With little or no objections that we are hearing about, from the administrators of our commons, parks and particularly in the lack of stewardship of our Common Good Fund.

So the thinking here is that most park users have a general idea of what the park is there for. Because what people use the park for hasn’t changed much over the last hundred years? Why do we need to be convinced “that the parks need to be fixed before they are broken” (Quote from a council parks survey) “The parks need to pay for themselves, and we are helping in this” (From events organiser with vested interests.)

Why are we constantly asked in consultations. “What do we need in our parks?” Most would answer “Access to our culture and heritage, toilets and a few parkies” But the questions are really designed by each preceding city administration to fulfil their own need through our parks. i.e. the quickest way to emptying our wallets to generate commercial profits.

So what we want to look at here is an event that looks at the cause and effect of the commercial developments being rolled out in our parks. How can we better understand how to challenge the inappropriate use of our parks

And Strategies for better stewardship of parks and green spaces to reverse the commercial decline. How to work towards a long term vision for our green space that serves users and can supersede decisions on park use made by short term administrations who may not have the public’s and park users best interests at heart.

This article relates to an event to be held in Kinning Park Complex at “Parks for people” How to become involved in the discussion and understanding the importance of green space in our lives, economically, physiologically, health wise, environmentally, politically, historically and creatively.

Join us for a debate  at Kinning Park Complex on what our parks are for. (dates will be poster soon)

Times and Speakers to be confirmed. If you want to help out contact or join list.


Radical Imagination/Common Good Awareness Project/Tardis

Casting Out

Casting Out

Dear Colleagues,

An invitation to mark a sad occasion in the life of Govan’s Graving Docks… Continue reading

On Monday the 24th of March, the Coach House Trust are moving in to the docks to clear away the pioneering ecology that has found its home here. This clearance marks the first stage of the site’s regeneration – a project led by the developer and landowner New City Vision who plan to make a high-end housing and commercial complex of this site. The dock’s Green Mantle has become host to a fascinating array of birds, invertebrate and mammals, and has also served as a place of solace and inspiration to many people.

On the eve of this clearance, a small lit vessel made of the site’s biomass will be released into the river and carried out to sea by the receding tide. This event has been made possible by the knowledge and skills contributed very kindly by the GalGael.

This will be a sad occassion, but I hope it will provide an opportunity to honour this landscape which has become important to so many. We will be gathering on Clydebrae Street next to the garage at 3pm on Sunday 30th March, before walking to the launching point together. Please do arrive at this time so there is opportunity to hear the health and safety briefing. RSVP on r.olden.1@research.gla.ac.uk     

 Many thanks,Ruth Olden



Studio 7

Clydebrae Street


G51 2AJ

 School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
University Avenue
University of Glasgow
East Quadrangle R 301
G12 8QQ

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.