The experience of change in communities adjacent to regeneration areas

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Major regeneration projects can affect nearby areas due to the removal of some local amenities while demolition and redevelopment takes place and through the relocation of residents from buildings that are cleared in the regeneration process.

Our new report looks at how local residents have experienced neighbourhood and community change in areas surrounding two of Glasgow’s Transformational Regeneration Areas (TRAs). Qualitative research involving in-depth interviews was conducted in the Wider Red Road and Wider Scotstoun areas, close to the Red Road and Kingsway Court estates. 

Key differences were found between the two areas in respect of views of local services, ethnic diversity and community empowerment. While most participants felt the Wider Red Road area had declined over time in terms of shops, parks, primary healthcare, and public transport, in Wider Scotstoun most services and amenities in the area – particularly public transport, primary healthcare, leisure facilities and parks – were viewed positively in terms of their availability and maintenance.   

Most participants recognised that Wider Red Road had become more ethnically diverse in recent years, but while this diversity was appreciated by some people, it made a lot of other people uncomfortable and resentful. This was particularly in the context of facing reported difficulties accessing housing opportunities for younger family members. There were also some references to pressures and additional demands being placed on local services by a rise in the number of migrants in the area. Participants in Wider Scotstoun had also noticed a growing ethnic diversity in their area, though most saw this as either unproblematic or indeed positive, although there were some complaints about migrants not sharing local social norms. 

In Wider Scotstoun there was a stronger sense of community empowerment compared with Wider Red Road. This seemed to be due to a mixture of factors: the successful establishment of two community centres in recent years; having better local amenities and services in the first place and hence lower levels of dissatisfaction; and receiving better environmental services to keep the area tidy. In Wider Red Road there were few examples given of proactive empowerment that involved development projects or activities led by local community groups. Most participants in this area talked about a range of inadequate or changing amenities and services, over which the community had no influence. 

The research also found similarities between the two locations. Both areas were seen as lacking enough community venues, and in particular a central hub that would boost the areas’ identities and help increase the inadequate provision of organised activities for some social groups. Both areas were also deemed to be in need of more community cafés, community centres or local coffee shops to enable people to casually interact. An enhanced community identity and sense of belonging through such venues may also support a stronger degree of proactive empowerment in the future. 

Access the report: Community and neighbourhood change in the GoWell Wider Surrounding Areas.