Urban Realm Volume 14.57

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This issue of Urban Realm takes the theme of renewal and runs with it by taking a closer look at how our towns, cities and neighbourhoods are repositioning to promote well-being, accessibility and community.

Our pavement pounding takes us to Aberdeen’s Union Street, where we look at how past mistakes can help inform future approaches to one of the great thoroughfares. 

In a similar vein, we return to Cumbernauld and The Wyndford estate, contrasting their controversial approaches with the community-centric model adopted in Govanhill.


  • Govanhill: Giving Voice
    In a sea of media negativity, a newly buoyant Govanhill is paving the way to inner-city renewal in Glasgow. Active travel and new and refurbished homes are the most visible sign of change but it is a strong sense of community spirit that is the district's true strength. Yasmin Ali examines Govanhill’s rich history of physical and cultural development.
  • Interior Report: Stepping Up
    Our regular interior report returns with a look at the primary design drivers that are pushing inhabited space in exciting new directions. We look at what is changing and how this will affect broader perceptions of the industry.
  • Fairburn Tower: Time Travel
    A rare surviving tower house near Inverness has enjoyed a second renaissance following its restoration as a holiday home but should Historic Environment Scotland be so accommodating? We explore the pros and cons of rescuing romantic ruins for future generations.
  • Housing Deficit: No Place Like Home
    Scotland is experiencing a housing crisis with too few homes being built and homelessness at an all-time high. Leslie Howson explores the extent of the housing deficit and what measures can be brought to bear to ensure a home for everyone.
  • Union Street: Long Road Ahead
    Union Street, a sore point in Aberdeen for decades, is the subject of yet another regeneration project. We travel the city's spine to see the steps being taken to counter the ‘death of the High street’. Is the road ahead clear?
  • Cumbernauld: Grey Area
    Urban Realm revisits Cumbernauld in the company of BBC Sounds to document the final years of the marmite new town’s unique town centre. Has the town been misjudged and what can it teach us about delivering places, not floor space? Photography by Chris Leslie.
  • Artificially Intelligent: AI or Naw?
    Multiplying utopian and apocalyptic headlines may give the impression that we are snowballing toward a new reality but is that the case? Andrew Strachan of Stallan-Brand delves behind the media hype with a broader look at the impact of AI on architecture.
  • Contemplative Art: Brush with Fate
    The twin devastating blazes at the Glasgow School of Art had a profound impact on all who witnessed them, none more so than architect Alan Dunlop who has turned to watercolour as a means to make sense of the loss by capturing other European landmarks on paper and painting for posterity.
  • Wyndford Estate: Winding Down
    A high-rise housing estate in Glasgow’s West End has become a battleground in the retrofit first debate with the publication of plans for its replacement. We weigh the pros and cons of demolition and ask whether this is the best solution.

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