Glasgow City Council has marked 10 years of its Stalled Spaces programme by reviewing the successes of the scheme, and its future plans.
The programme began in 2010, in the wake of the 2008 financial crash and the subsequent impact on a number of the city's communities in the shape of stalled or abandoned development proposals on sites, or under-utilised open spaces, across Glasgow.
More than 60% of Glaswegians were found to be living within 500 metres of such vacant and derelict sites, which can impact on health and wellbeing. Addressing these sites by developing them - even on a short-term basis - through local community involvement was seen as a positive solution that would improve collective health and wellbeing, bring an economic boost, and improve social cohesion and the local environment.
Just some of the types of projects that have been created on these sites include pop-up gardens; spaces for growing food, play, events and exhibitions; wildlife areas; and urban gyms.
More than 125 sites in the city have now been transformed through the scheme, from a budget of £500,000 - the maximum grant for each project is £4,500.
The aims of the programme include:
The improvement of vacant & derelict land on a temporary basis;
The empowerment of communities, and the development of an integrated partnership approach to help those communities;
Increased access to locally-grown food;
Improved community engagement and reduced social isolation;
The creation of opportunities for projects where different generations can work together; and
The provision of training opportunities and capital funding
The next stage of the Stalled Spaces programme will see the council work with local community organisations to develop projects on multiple sites within each of the Drumchapel, Pollok and South Central areas. Each of these areas - identified through Glasgow's City Development Plan as suitable for such a pilot - will see a £10,000 grant awarded to the organisation delivering the project reactivating stalled or abandoned spaces.
In addition, a £5,000 grant will be made available for an organisation to develop a mechanism to support nature-based enterprises, working closely with the organisations receiving the above grant in Drumchapel, Pollok and South Central to identify three innovative projects with the potential for growth and sustainability.
Learning from each of those projects will be used to inform the relaunch of the programme in April 2021.
Councillor Kenny McLean, City Convener for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Public Realm, said: "The Stalled Spaces programme has brought new life to more than 125 derelict or under-used sites all over Glasgow over the past decade, bringing economic, environmental and social benefits to local communities. The pandemic has underlined the value of the development of such spaces to our communities. We now propose to develop the programme in three particular areas of the city, and with a focus on nature-based solutions in order to continue to bring these benefits."