Reflection from a City in Lockdown – A National Park City in waiting?
This is our first blog since lockdown – and it’s hard to know where to begin. There have been millions of words written about Covid-19. It seems trite to talk about the unprecedented tragedies and challenges – but glib not to mention it.
Whatever your experience has been of this strange time we hope you are able to look forward positively as lockdown eases. In all crisis there can be rays of light. We’ve seen communities pull together and people helping each other with basic needs. We’ve clapped for carers, delivered neighbour’s shopping and taken solace in the value of simple things – a walk with family, visits to local greenspaces, daily exercise.
In many ways it feels the current situation has echoes in the history and personality of Glasgow. A city gripped by decades of inequality – yet held by a community spirit which means that ‘People Make Glasgow’ is not simply a slogan – it’s a reality for many who experience the fierce humour and community spirit of Glaswegians. A City built by industry, but with the Dear Green Place at its heart.
As Covid struck, Glasgow felt - like much of the world - at a crucial cross-roads. Preparations for COP26 were swinging into action, the City had declared a climate emergency, and new electric bikes and clean air zones were becoming a hallmark of the City.
Then there was COVID19 – what will there be next?
As a National Park City group our role is to look forward. To see what’s needed and seek to support the organisations who share our vision. In a City already suffering from huge health inequalities, faced with a pandemic hitting the most deprived hardest – can there be a more important time for a greener, wilder, healthier City?
We believe the future of Glasgow could be as a National Park City
We think that the concept of a National Park City has renewed relevance and importance. We believe Glasgow can be a frontrunner in the growing international National Park City movement, and that a Glasgow NPC can be a catalyst for a city, where people, places and nature are better connected.
The immediate impact of Covid-19 has been massive, and the long-term impact may be even more significant. As we emerge from the current lockdown it’s clear that some of the ways we need to change the city as a result of Covid-19 are also key steps towards a greener, wilder, healthier City.
What if... the creation of more space for walking and cycling was not a short term fix, but part of a long term change to how we move around the city?
What if… the increased use of local greenspaces became the catalyst for every community in Glasgow having access to high quality community spaces?
What if… the sudden focus on outdoor learning was not just about achieving physical distancing but an educational entitlement for all learners embedding Learning for Sustainability as an integral part of education?
What if… bird song replaced traffic as the dominant soundtrack of the city?
What if… we put green energy, sustainability and environmental projects at the heart of a green ‘new deal’ for Glasgow, creating new, high quality training and employment opportunities?
What if… the quieter streets were a tipping point from a city dominated by cars to one where people are the priority – where we can walk, socialise, cycle and play on a connected green network?
What if… the next step for Glasgow is as a National Park City?
We are developing a series of blogs looking in more detail at how Glasgow needs to adapt to the ‘new normal’ after Covid-19. If you would like to contribute to the series from your own or your organisation’s perspective please get in touch.