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Cost-benefit break down: unplannable spaces in 1970s Glasgow

  • SARAH MASS (a1)

Abstract

This article examines a moment of uncertainty in early 1970s Glasgow motorway history: the planning of the East Flank of the Inner Ring Road and the potential removal of the Barrows Market. As sociological influences against wholesale urban clearance came into maturity in planning and community action, Glasgow planners carried out a feasibility study into the socio-economic costs of uprooting the commercial life of the Barrows. I suggest that reading this technocratic document for its cultural assumptions, ambiguities and tensions, rather than its engineering vision, opens up a different approach to the history of motorway planning.

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Copyright

Footnotes

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This article began as a paper at the 2016 International Conference on Urban History, and I appreciate Shane Ewen and Simon Gunn for encouraging me to submit my work to Urban History. I also thank the two anonymous reviewers, along with the Newberry Urban History Dissertation Group and the University of Michigan History Department Writing Seminar, for feedback on previous versions of this article. I owe special acknowledgment to Fergus Mason and Anne Cameron, archivists at the New Glasgow Society and the University of Strathclyde Special Collections, respectively. If any reader has additional information on the origins of the illustration in Figure 3, please contact the author. Above all others, my gratitude goes to Kathryne Bevilacqua for helping me see this article to its completion.

Footnotes

References

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1 S. Baird, ‘The M74 Motorway – completion’, Glasgow Motorway Archive, 14 Feb. 2016, www.glasgows-motorways.co.uk/m74-completion/4578281641, accessed 25 Mar. 2017.

2 D. Walker, ‘M74 Dig Oral History Project’, www.academia.edu/4421647/M74_Dig_Oral_Project, accessed 25 Mar. 2017.

3 Schmucki, B., ‘Cities as traffic machines: urban transport planning in East and West Germany’, in Divall, C. and Bond, W. (eds.), Suburbanizing the Masses: Public Transport and Urban Development in Historical (Aldershot, 2003), 149–70; Gutfreund, O.D., Twentieth-Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape (Oxford, 2004); Starkie, D., The Motorway Age: Road Traffic Policies in Post-War Britain (London, 1982); Merriman, P., Driving Spaces: A Cultural-Historical Geography of England's M1 Motorway (Hoboken, 2007); Gold, J., The Practice of Modernism (London, 2007); Klemek, C., The Transatlantic Collapse of Urban Renewal (Chicago, 2011); Shapely, P., ‘Civic pride and redevelopment in the post-war British city’, Urban History, 39 (2012), 310–28.

4 Davis, J., ‘“Simple solutions to complex problems”: the Greater London Council and the Greater London Development Plan, 1965–1973’, in Harris, J. (ed.), Civil Society in British History (Oxford, 2003), 249–73; Mohl, R.A., ‘Stop the road: freeway revolts in American cities’, Journal of Urban History, 30 (2004), 674706; Avila, E., The Folklore of the Freeway (Minneapolis, 2014); Shelton, K., ‘Building a better Houston: highways, neighborhoods, and infrastructural citizenship in the 1970s’, Journal of Urban History, 43 (2017), 421–44.

5 An exception to this scholarship is the work of Simon Gunn, who has turned attention to the intersection of mid-century social investigation and the sociology of automobility. Gunn, ‘People and the car: the expansion of automobility in urban Britain, c. 1955–1970’, Social History, 38 (2013), 220–37.

6 This line of thinking is influenced by Hull, M., Government of Paper: The Materiality of Bureaucracy in Urban Pakistan (Berkeley, 2010).

7 See Economic Development Committee for the Distributive Trades, Shopping Capacity Sub-Committee, Urban Models in Shopping Studies (London, 1970); Bacon, R.W., ‘An approach to the theory of consumer shopping behaviour’, Urban Studies, 8 (1971), 5564; Bucklin, L.P., ‘Retail gravity models and consumer choice: a theoretical and empirical critique’, Economic Geography, 47 (1971), 489–97; Davies, R.L., ‘Patterns and profiles of consumer behaviour’, University of Newcastle, Department of Geography Research Series, 10 (1973); Day, R.A., ‘Consumer shopping behaviour in a planned urban environment’, Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 64 (1973), 7785.

8 For example, see Fyfe, N.R., ‘Contested visions of a modern city: planning and poetry in postwar Glasgow’, Environment and Planning A, 28 (1996), 387403; Hubbard, P. et al., ‘Contesting the modern city: reconstruction and everyday life in post-war Coventry’, Planning Perspectives, 18 (2003), 377–97; Faire, L. and McHugh, D., ‘The everyday usage of city-centre streets: urban behaviour in provincial Britain c. 1930–1970’, Urban History Review, 42 (2014), 1828.

9 Lefebvre, H., The Production of Space (Oxford, 1991).

10 James Scott defines ‘state simplification’ as the tools of modern statecraft that ‘did not successfully represent the actual activity of the society they depicted; nor were they intended to; they represented only that slice of it that interested the official observer’. Scott, J., Seeing like a State (New Haven, 1998), 24.

11 Bruce, R., First Planning Report to the Highways and Planning Committee of the Corporation of the City of Glasgow (Glasgow, 1945). For more on the Bruce Plan versus the Clyde Valley Regional Plan, see Fyfe, ‘Contested visions of a modern city’, 389–96.

12 The corporation was the local administrative body in Glasgow since 1895, governed by the council. After reorganization in 1975, it became the City of Glasgow District Council.

13 McCafferty, J.P., ‘The Glasgow Inner Ring Road: past, present and future’, in Glendinning, M. (ed.), Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision (Edinburgh, 1997), 78.

14 Ibid., 77.

15 Glasgow Herald, 28 Oct. 1961.

16 Pooley, C. et al., A Mobile Century? Changes in Everyday Mobility in Britain in the Twentieth Century (Aldershot, 2005), 28.

17 H. Richardson, ‘Glasgow's hollow crown’, New Statesman, 19 Sep. 1975.

18 Miller, R., ‘The new face of Glasgow’, Scottish Geographical Magazine, 86 (1970), 910.

19 Richardson, ‘Glasgow's hollow crown’; A. Jeffrey, ‘Glasgow's mania for environmental self-destruction’, Architects’ Journal, 4 Apr. 1973.

20 C. Thom, ‘Motorway city’, Architects’ Journal, 10 Nov. 1971.

21 Glasgow Herald, 10 Apr. 1972.

22 New Glasgow Society Archives (NGSA), New Glasgow Society newsletters and news bulletins (NGS) 2/1, ‘Battle for historic core’, NGS News, 16 Jan. 1972, 1.

23 See the editorial exchange in the Architects’ Journal. Thom, ‘Motorway city’; J.M. McKean and C. McKean, ‘Motorway city’, Architects’ Journal, 17 Nov. 1971.

24 ‘Inner motorway garrotte’, Architects’ Journal, 4 Oct. 1972; Glasgow Herald, 10 Sep. 1971; Glasgow City Archives (GCA), Planning Department files 1/7, Report on the East Flank of the Inner Ring Road, the Hamilton Motorway, and the East End Expressway, Nov. 1973, 2.

25 The literature on these movements is vast; see Mohl ‘Stop the road’; and Klemek, C., ‘The rise and fall of New Left urbanism’, Daedalus, 138 (2009), 7382, for overviews. For case-study approaches, see Dory, J., ‘Clash of urban philosophies: Moses versus Jacobs’, Journal of Planning History, 17 (2018), 2041; Robinson, D., ‘Modernism at a crossroad: the Spadina Expressway controversy in Toronto, Ontario c. 1960–1971’, Canadian Historical Review, 92 (2011), 295322; Davis, ‘Complex problems’. For contemporary British reactions, see J. Barr, ‘The amenity protesters’, New Society, 1 Aug. 1968, 152–5; Editorial, ‘Motorways through our cities’, New Society, 24 Jul. 1969; Bendixson, T., ‘The accumulation of urban change’, Municipal Review, 40 (1969), 1618; Broady, M., Planning for People: Essays on the Social Context of Planning (London, 1968).

26 See NGSA NGS/2/1, ‘Glasgow roads plan obsolete?’, and ‘Cars no longer rule Toronto. . .or why Glasgow must heed the lessons of the Spadina Expressway closure’, NGS News, 7 (1970–71), 1 and 4–5.

27 ‘Britain's mark 1 regional city’, Architects’ Journal, 6 May 1964; J.P. Boys, ‘Packed meeting discusses Buchanan’, Architects’ Journal, 12 Feb. 1964.

28 The population of the East End shrank from 150,000 in 1951 to 45,000 in the late 1970s. Between 1970 and 1973 alone, the population of Glasgow fell from 908,000 to 850,000. M. Pacione, Glasgow: The Socio-Spatial Development of the City (Oxford, 1995), 173; National Records of Scotland (NRS), Scottish Development Agency files 3/20, urban renewal director, (R. Colwell) Scottish Development Agency. Retailing in GEAR (23 Nov. 1979).

29 GCA, Department of Architecture and Planning (D-AP) 3/1/2, cross-examination of D.S. Wishart, Quinquennial Review of the Development Plan enquiry, April–May 1961, vol. 3, 2282–3.

30 Since 1959, property owners whose premises were bought through compulsory purchase needed to receive market value for their property. Ravetz, A., Remaking Cities (London, 1980), 67.

31 GCA D-AP 3/1/2, evidence of B. Ahmad and others (objecting), Quinquennial Review, Apr.–May 1961, vol. 4, 2538. Closing address from Mr McNeill, Quinquennial Review, vol. 4, 2595.

32 For more on the Buchanan Report, see Gunn, S., ‘The Buchanan Report, environment and the problem of traffic in 1960s Britain’, Twentieth Century British History, 22 (2011), 521–42; and Bianconi, M. and Tewdwr-Jones, M., ‘The form and organization of urban areas: Colin Buchanan and Traffic in Towns 50 years on’, Town Planning Review, 84 (2013), 313–36.

33 ‘City centre functions’, Architects’ Journal, 1 Sep. 1965.

34 M. Broady, ‘Social theory and the planners’, New Society, 16 Feb. 1967, 232–3; Ravetz, Remaking, 132–3.

35 Drake, J., ‘Local participation including social aspects’, in Davis, J.S. (ed.), Motorways in Britain: Today and Tomorrow: Proceedings of the Conference Organized by the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, 26–28 April 1971 (London, 1971), 30.

36 See Huff, D.L., ‘A probabilistic analysis of shopping center trade area’, Land Economics, 39 (1963), 8190.

37 Ladd, B., Autotophobia: Love and Hate in the Automotive Age (Chicago, 2008), 120–1; Urban Models in Shopping Studies, 51.

38 See ibid. and Thorpe, D. and Kivell, P., Decentralisation of Shopping: Factors to Be Considered by the Community (Manchester, 1971).

39 ‘Shopping’, Which?, Nov. 1969, 336–41.

40 Lintonbon, J., ‘The drive to modernize: remodelling Birmingham city centre, 1945–1965’, in Gosseye, J and Avermaete, T. (eds.), Shopping Towns Europe: Commercial Collectivity and the Architecture of the Shopping Centre, 1945–1975 (London, 2017), 234.

41 World's Fair, 2 Sep., 7 Oct. and 16 Dec. 1972.

42 Robertson Collection, University of Strathclyde Special Collections (RC USSC), William Holford and Associates, Glasgow Inner Ring Road: East Flank Motorway Constraints (Glasgow, Mar. 1972).

43 RC USSC, Glasgow Planning Department, East Flank and Barrowland Study (Glasgow, 1972).

44 Environmental Studies first appears in Glasgow planning records in Aug. 1971, when the chief planning officer appealed for more funding and support staff for the department's expanding functions. Presumably, however, this sub-set of the department would have come into being in either 1968 (with new planning legislation) or 1970 (with the establishment of the Department of the Environment). GCA, Department of the Town Clerk 8/1/19/13, Planning Department Establishment, report by director of planning, Aug. 1971.

45 For more on the disconnection between legible forms and lived experience, see Scott, Seeing like a State, 58.

46 Mansley, R.D., East End Expressway: A Background Study (Glasgow, Nov. 1973); Glasgow Planning Department, East End Study, vol. II: Strategy (Glasgow, Aug. 1973).

47 RC USSC, Mansley, R.D., Glasgow East Flank Motorway Feasibility Study (Glasgow, Jul. 1972), 68.

48 Ibid.

49 ‘Too simple’, New Society, 7 Apr. 1966; Broady, ‘Social theory’.

50 Mansley, Glasgow East Flank, 66 and 70.

51 Ibid., 72.

52 Jacobs, J., The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New York, 1992), 220–1.

53 Mansley, Glasgow East Flank, 74–5.

54 Jacobs, The Death and Life, 434, 439 and 441.

55 There is no evidence in the document, the library catalogue, or subsequent cross-referencing in the archives about the identity of these ‘comments’ section authors.

56 Mansley, Glasgow East Flank, 82.

57 Ibid., 83.

58 Ibid., 84.

59 Glasgow Planning Department, East End Study, 6.

60 Mansley, Glasgow East Flank, 82.

61 Ibid., 85.

62 Ibid., 87.

63 Scott, Seeing like a State, 58.

64 Moran, J., On Roads: A Hidden History (London, 2010), 204; ‘Roads to destruction’, Architectural Review, Feb. 1973; ‘Dividing lanes’, New Society, 16 Aug. 1973.

65 Glasgow Herald, 3 Dec. 1973. This ran parallel with central government and the Scottish Office's vocal disapproval of Glasgow Corporation slum clearance and housing schemes, which had left large parts of the city derelict. Wannop, U. and Leclerc, R., ‘Urban renewal and the origins of GEAR’, in Donnison, D. and Middleton, A. (eds.), Regenerating the Inner City (London, 1987), 65.

66 Leeds promoted itself as the ‘Motorway city of the 1970s’, while construction on Middlesbrough's urban flyover only began in the mid-1980s.

67 Mansley, East End Expressway; Corporation of the City of Glasgow, East Flank Report (Glasgow, 1973).

68 NGSA NGS/2/1/, NGS News, 3 (Dec. 1975), 3; J.V. Cable, ‘Glasgow's motorways: a technocratic blight’, New Society, 5 Sep. 1974; NGSA NGS/2/1, NGS News, 6 (1973–74), 1.

69 Glasgow Corporation, East Flank Report, 1; NRS, Planning files 12/2399/1, the City of Glasgow District Council – The East End Project (summary of existing plans, policies and programmes for Glasgow's East End for consideration by the Governing Committee at the meeting to be held on 10 Dec. 1976).

70 This route will swing far to the east of the Barrows. The biggest threat to the contemporary market are local and national government initiatives to turn the area into an ‘arts, events, and music quarter’ that might do away with the weekend market. G. Braiden, ‘Glasgow's notorious Barrows earmarked as arts, events, and music quarter in £30 plans’, Glasgow Herald, 3 Mar. 2016.

71 P. Miller, ‘“Glasgow effect” artist Ellie Harrison reveals first work of project’, Glasgow Herald, 24 May 2016.

72 Harwood, E., Space, Hope, and Brutalism: English Architecture, 1945–1975 (New Haven, 2015); Grindrod, J., Concretopia: A Journey around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain (London, 2013); Hatherley, O., Militant Modernism (London, 2009).

73 ‘Save Preston Bus Station campaign joint winner of Heritage Hero Award’, Twentieth Century Society Blog, 4 Dec. 2014, http://c20society.org.uk/2014/12/04/save-preston-bus-station-campaign-a-heritage-hero, accessed 25 Mar. 2017; J. Holyoak, ‘Why “our Regent Street” must be saved’, Birmingham Post, 9 Mar. 2016; Disappear Here, www.disappear-here.org, accessed 25 Mar. 2017.

74 S. Baird and J. Hassall, The Glasgow Motorway Archive, www.glasgows-motorways.co.uk, accessed 25 Mar. 2017.

75 Hanna, E., ‘Seeing like a cyclist: visibility and mobility in modern Dublin, c. 1930–1980’, Urban History, 42 (2015), 289.

* This article began as a paper at the 2016 International Conference on Urban History, and I appreciate Shane Ewen and Simon Gunn for encouraging me to submit my work to Urban History. I also thank the two anonymous reviewers, along with the Newberry Urban History Dissertation Group and the University of Michigan History Department Writing Seminar, for feedback on previous versions of this article. I owe special acknowledgment to Fergus Mason and Anne Cameron, archivists at the New Glasgow Society and the University of Strathclyde Special Collections, respectively. If any reader has additional information on the origins of the illustration in Figure 3, please contact the author. Above all others, my gratitude goes to Kathryne Bevilacqua for helping me see this article to its completion.

Cost-benefit break down: unplannable spaces in 1970s Glasgow

  • SARAH MASS (a1)

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