STUART PATRICK

Over recent weeks quite a few projects have either started or been announced that could add up to a profound change in Glasgow’s city centre.

The Sauchiehall Street Business Improvement District is having a £7m makeover, funded by City Deal, and the work has just begun. Wider and cleaner pavements, reduced on-street parking, more trees and better provision for cyclists will be just some of the outcomes to follow.

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Two property developers, Get Living and Moda Living, announced they had submitted planning for well over 1000 build-to-rent homes on High Street and Pitt Street respectively.

Plans were also submitted for Inovo2, a new centre for collaborative research alongside Strathclyde University’s Technology and Innovation Centre. Ambitions for the development of an Innovation District anchored by the University, covering the Merchant City and surrounding neighbourhoods, are being led by the University.

The transformation of Queen Street station has also begun, with signs good that it will be used to stimulate extensive investment in Grade A office space and modern space for retail and leisure that can match anything in competing cities.

And the Leader of Glasgow City Council Susan Aitken announced in her State of the City Economy address the establishment of a Connectivity Commission to make bold recommendations on the future for transport in the city centre, alongside a commitment to tackle air quality through Scotland’s first Low Emissions Zone.

Glasgow’s city centre is constantly changing, but perhaps the nature of this year’s change will be more extensive than usual. In the immediate aftermath of the Commonwealth Games, Glasgow Chamber together with the Urban Land Institute commissioned a report examining the impact that digital technology might have on the way a city centre would operate in the future.

We called it Tomorrow’s City Centre, and the conclusions were clear. Technology was changing our expectations of the inner city experience, and we asked those we consulted what they wanted. Build on Glasgow’s history, share and use data for managing the city better, make it easier to re-use urban space that loses its original purpose, encourage more living in the city centre, encourage the innovation industries increasingly drawn into city centres, and generally improve the quality of life in our central district.

There are many Chamber members who believe Glasgow city centre could be much better than it is today. Perhaps decisions being made by government and by investors are beginning to deliver.

Stuart Patrick is chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.