Making People Places: Glasgow

This post has some observations from a short trip to Glasgow in late September 2018. The feature image shows a view from the Glasgow Necropolis on a surprisingly sunny day in the city.

Find other Making People Places posts about Montreal, Bristol, and the Millennium Bridge / St Paul’s Corridor in London.

Blessed with some sun for our day in Glasgow we walked around the centre of the city to see some highlights and I couldn’t help but notice some interesting public space elements along the way.

Busy pedestrian Buchanan Street in Glasgow on a sunny Sunday

On Sauchiehall Street near Buchanan: an old bright red police box, giant planters as vehicle barricades, a variety of bollards, trees, and lots of interesting paving patterns.

Bollards and paving treatment on a pedestrianized portion of Sauchiehall near Buchanan Street

Sauchiehall Street near the Glasgow School of Art is being transformed to include wider sidewalks and separated bike lanes and trees – hurrah! I did not manage any good photos and it isn’t much to look at when we visited in late September 2018 as construction is still ongoing. This is work was begun before and now delayed by the tragic fire at the Glasgow School of Art.

BT digital advertising kiosk on Sauchiehall Street

A development about which I am harbouring some scepticism is the installation of BT InLinkUK digital advertising panels. I spotted one going in on Sauchiehall and another in operation on (I think it was) Trongate Street.

Having done some research on these digital kiosks for work, I am well aware that they are likely going to become a lot more common and ride in on a weird wave I can only clunkily describe as ‘hyper-connected surveillance capitalism but hey we’re giving you free wifi’. Although these units come at no cost to taxpayers (they are installed and maintained and run entirely from ad revenue) and claim to bridge the ‘digital divide’ by which some folks (wealthier, higher class) have ready access to the Internet and others (poorer, lower class, street-involved) do not, I’m just not convinced that this development is as good as it first seems under late stage capitalism. I’m waiting to be proven wrong. BUT I DIGRESS.

BT InLinkUK digital advertising kiosks will replace 2,000 public telephones around the UK.

The Glasgow Necropolis which, like many Scottish cemeteries functions quite a lot like a park and busy albeit quiet public space, is a sight to behold. On this beautiful mostly-sunny day that still managed to retain a good measure of Scottish moody greyness, it was stunning. It’s an amazing point from which to view much of the centre of the city (as you can see in the header photo of this post.)

Glasgow Necropolis

Also for work-related reasons I’ve taken an interest in wayfinding map stands and public toilets and in Glasgow near the Cameron Memorial Fountain there was an opportunity to see both in one photo! Sadly, though, this underground public toilet is, like most of them, a relic of the past.

Disused underground public toilet and map stand at at Sauchiehall Street & Woodside Crescent


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