The regeneration programme which took place across Glasgow encompassed several different interventions, each of which are described briefly below. GoWell was studying all of these.
Through the implementation of the Scottish Housing Quality Standard and the investment programme undertaken by Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) and by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) since housing stock transfer in 2003, there was a substantial programme of housing improvement works being applied to all social housing in the city. Most of our study areas received large numbers of housing improvements, and residents therefore may have experienced the twin effects both of individual housing improvements, and of area-level impacts from multiple improvements which transform the appearance of a neighbourhood.
Three of our study areas were undergoing transformational regeneration involving almost entire redevelopment over time (Red Road, Shawbridge and Sighthill). Three further study areas were experiencing restructuring that was less than full redevelopment (Gorbals Riverside, Scotstoun multi-storey flats, and St Andrews Drive). Regeneration involves physical change through the replacement of residential and other buildings, other neighbourhood improvement works (such as to green spaces and shops), and housing and social restructuring towards mixed-tenure communities. Economic development, cultural activities and wider skills development/educational processes may also form part of the intervention.
A necessary element of transformational regeneration is the relocation of residents to housing elsewhere in order to enable restructuring to occur. Some people may move more than once as a part of this process, and very few people will move back to the restructured area even if they had originally thought they might do so. Relocation has generally been considered to be a negative experience and to have detrimental impacts upon people, due to loss of attachment and disruption to social connections, and so we were studying whether this relocation process had any expected or unexpected outcomes for the residents affected.
Mixed tenure communities
Mixed tenure communities is a central tenet of housing and regeneration policy, with an associated set of desired outcomes relating to residential satisfaction, area reputation, community pride and place attachment, and resident aspirations and behaviours. Mixed tenure was occurring in the regeneration areas within the study, but also, more incrementally, in the peripheral estates.
All the above interventions involve changes in dwelling types for communities and residents. Urban, planning and housing policy provide support and incentives for different types of dwelling to be provided for populations, with potentially different consequences for health and wellbeing and their determinants. We were particularly interested in the effects of living in high-rise versus lower-rise flats, and whether any differences between them are altered by housing improvement works; and in the individual and community level effects of residing in houses with gardens rather than in flats of whatever kind.
Community engagement and empowerment
Housing and regeneration policy-makers and practitioners regard community engagement and empowerment as core tenets of their approach to delivering services and change. Public sector organisations (individually, and collectively through community planning processes) are required to engage with relevant communities/user groups in the development and implementation of strategies and new initiatives. This is held to have benefits for the effectiveness of services and for service providers, as well as having positive impacts upon communities in terms of confidence, capacity and cohesion – all seen as virtuous in themselves but also as necessary for other outcomes, for example in relation to health and wellbeing and employment.