Something for Everyone

From The Herald (Glasgow)
Fear over ‘collar of dereliction’ around Glasgow

Almost 350,000 people in Scotland’s biggest city now live within 500 yards of abandoned sites, and the number of vacant lots is on the rise, a council survey has revealed. Council officials admitted these areas had a negative impact on the local communities because the land could be taken over by gangs or become a dumping ground for fly-tippers.

I’d like to see this. If it’s as described, there should be enough dereliction for everyone to have a little bit in their own neighbourhoods, which might be a very useful thing. Depends on what sorts of dereliction there are.

Meanwhile, let’s see how the council are making things worse through various rhetorical devices.

“We have been carrying out a survey of derelict land since 1993 and this is the first year we have seen this increase,” a council spokeswoman said. “It is an indicator of social deprivation. If you are in a deprived community, the chances are you will be living very close to derelict land.

Dereliction is for poor people then? And if you live near a bit of derelict land, you must be socially deprived. On top of that, people doing things on derelict land must be criminals, whilst the look of these places keeps the capitalist investors well away, meaning they are only suitable for local, non-profit use.

“Apart from attracting anti-social behaviour, the depressing look of the sites can add to people’s general dissatisfaction with the quality of their local environment. “Derelict lots are also a disincentive to companies wanting to invest in the city.

But at least one person seems to have an eye on the ball.

Councillor David McDonald, SNP housing spokesman and representative for Baillieston, criticised the council for failing to develop the abandoned lots. “Sadly, these sites are nothing more than a wasteland of broken promises, littered with disappointment. “People living in, near or around derelict sites rightfully feel angry that the Labour-run council has allowed the places they live in to become so run-down they attract only rats and not investment.”

In other words, it’s the council that’s failing local people by sequestering these places, pretending that there’ll be outside investment and development, and keeping them from use by locals in the meanwhile.

Glasgow City Council is trying to tackle derelict spaces, but admits that many of its projects – including the recent school closures – have left behind a legacy of dereliction. The new survey of derelict land shows 41% is in council ownership.

41%. So about half the city’s derelict land could find good use immediately, were councillors to take the right decisions.