Hidden Glasgow - a fresh concept ?

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Postby escotregen » Wed Jan 05, 2005 8:21 pm

Sharon I found your last couple of postings very helpful on what your thinking is. Seems to me we have at least two strategic strands here.

One is the one you have started out on - the ownership and management of the website with a strong ethos of community control.

Second is the one that me and Closet have skimmed along - the wider and cross-sector Glasgow situation with several and varied interests in play.

I'm being sent back out into the cold and dark now, so I probably won't be able to come back to the board 'till tommorrow. But in the meantime I'd like to do a bit of thinking about the wider strand and how (or whether) HG can play a role. Then I could come back to you on this. I have in mind the main client I work for, and how they manage to punch well above their weight in their field by restricting themselves to a communicating and facilitating role for many other stakeholders.

P.S I hope Turbo reads this and sees I'm trying to use paras and spaces; it's ruddy hard and a pita.
P.P.S. Closet some of us are even more than thirtyish - Ive already picked up Fossil on that one!
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Postby turbozutek » Wed Jan 05, 2005 8:29 pm

escotregen wrote:P.S I hope Turbo reads this and sees I'm trying to use paras and spaces; it's ruddy hard and a pita.


I did see it... Know why ? It was readable!! :-D

Chris...
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Postby crusty_bint » Wed Jan 05, 2005 9:02 pm

The whole "ethos" of Hidden Glasgow is about exchange and sharing of information, starting off initially for urban exploration and now in its present form as an ever-growing encyclopedia of all things Glasgow. Translating this for conservation purposes could take the form of a centralised resource or reference point for all the conservation groups in and around Glasgow (excuse me if Im repeating comments already made).

HG would take the form, first and fore-most, of a public website, where people interested in whats going on in Glasgow can get accurate information, as currently most folk wouldnt have the first clue where to look for information on the issues which we're currently debating. This is where HG's strengths are, in attracting the attention of people. Although not that easy to find, the forums have grown enormously in the past 12 months, once you're here, you wont leave. This is wheres HG's strengths are.

Where conservation groups would come in is by providing information on such issues, acting as a place to exchange info with each other and thus raising thier own profile, in return, these groups could promote Hidden Glasgow to thier members on newsletters, leaflets, books etc. Most of these groups already have websites, some of which are less than inspiring which is obviously due to lack of resources, I wonder if we'd be doing some a favour by offering this service?

Some form of funding may also be available to gt the necessary changes done, we may not cover the full cost (in man hours), but anything would be a help. I'lm not entirely sure where it would/may come from but I will find out on Monday.

One other point, There are certain things that go on on HG that might not be entirely to the tastes of these groups (lot of swearing and other stuff on the forums) that they might not wish to be associated with... if you all know what I mean? This might be a consideration if we want to be taken "seriously"?

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Postby crusty_bint » Wed Jan 05, 2005 9:05 pm

Excellent points by the way everyone! Escotregen and CC, your insight into dealing with "these folks" (in a nice way) would me most helpful and appreciated :D

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Postby Closet Classicist » Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:06 am

Sorry if I offended anyone with the 'old' bit. T'was only an observation! This is also based on other forums such as the Glasgow metro area on Skyscapercity.com where most people seem to be in their early twenties. Just thought it was something to do with this being a relatively new medium. It wasn't meant to be prejudicial at all!

Sharon re: the time issue its safe to say the same thing applies to all amenity groups as they all function on a volunteer basis. With regards to numbers your membership at is roughly the same level as most of the other groups I am involved in which means that if you get these groups interested membership could increase considerably.
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Postby escotregen » Thu Jan 06, 2005 1:49 pm

Closet, doh! I didn't mean it serious about the age thing! Your links given on the Elgin Place Church site were very useful - sort of highlights some of the issues we are talking about above.
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Postby DickyHart » Thu Jan 06, 2005 2:29 pm

A meeting is afoot methinks,
Lets have an open meeting on a more formal way if we can, an small ideas seminar if you like, I can get a venue if needed. Nae pubs till efter.

Funding options by the way, we need a sort of commitee thing for that, if you need help. im yer man.

I know loads of people who visit the site all the time but don't register, HG means so many different things to so many people.

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Postby Closet Classicist » Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:28 pm

Haha escotregen (btw I just figured out how your psedonym works. I had thought it was an obscure latin word! Duh!)! Age ain't an issue for me! According to my partner (who is Glaswegian to the core) I was born 57. Anyway I digress

Been having a think and have had a look back through the postings here, in particular Sharon's first post. Consequently these are my thoughts:

I. Hidden Glasgow formalise itself as an amenity group or join forces with another amenity group such as the New Glasgow Society.

These guys are like a 1960's proto Hidden Glasgow. They formed 40 years ago to voice support for Glasgow's Victorian heritage which the then Glasgow planners were rapidly getting rid of. It is down to the NGS that so much now remains that we take for granted as it was them that forced the issue on to the public's radar so you could be natural bed fellows. They are really struggling for new members at the moment and so may be amenable to an approach (though aspects of HG may not be to their taste) and there are other financial aspects to consider such as membership fee requirements i.e. would people using HG be prepared to pay £10 membership fee per year for formally joining, and if not what impact would that have on membership numbers?

The amenity group idea is actually the logical next step for you guys. If you want to exert influence with councillors, planners, architects etc etc as Sharon suggested, the only way to do this is by getting yourselves onto Glasgow's Amenity Liason Committee (otherwise known as the ALC). This is a Glasgow City Council organised committee of appointees (they have to organize it by law as westminster requires the council to do so) from various Amenity or Non Statutory groups of concerned citizens or consultees such as Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, Glasgow Institute of Architects, Friends of the Glasgow West End, Pollokshields Heritage, Greek Thompson Society, CR Mackintosh society, Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, Glasgow Tree Lovers Society, and the Scottish Civic Trust. If you did formalize yourselves with a constitution, and I'm not sure but you may have to be a registered charity also, you could petition the council for inclusion on the committee. The ALC has clout as it reviews all major or contentious new developments that affect the city i.e. this is surely where you want to be. It is, in fact, in the process of being rebranded and upgraded by the city at the moment with its meetings minuted and circulated to all concerned parties (including developers), council officials who are dealing with schemes going before it having to be in attendance, and I also think Historic Scotland have been asked to attend (though some of you might scoff at that). However the ALC could not have stopped what happened with the Elgin Place Congregational Church as that was way to fast for them to convene in response to it and anyway they don't work like that as it is the council that convenes them. But they can tell the council what they think about it and that may give officials pause for thought. The fact that you are on the ALC also carries some influence.

2. Raising your profile, not through a newspaper column as other people have suggested but, through an article in the Herald.

Given HG's background and involvement in some relatively unconventional areas such as exploration of tunnel systems, tours of graveyards, druids, visits to St Peter's Seminary, obscure local history etc etc there is definitely a story here (I mean it's gold dust for journalists!). Perhaps someone with media contacts can slip a sketch outline of an article under a journalists nose? It is also worth remembering that your profile is actually not bad. Afterall you were one of the few 'amenity' bodies approached by the Lighthouse for the BLOCK architecture week (probably cause you are achingly hip). When I approached the organisers after reading about BLOCK on HG they didn't have a clue about many more powerful and seemingly high profile bodies, even if they were on the ALC (which amazingly for Scotland's Centre for Architecture they also didn't seem to be aware of. Bit out touch?)!

Anyway what do you think?

Cheers

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Postby crusty_bint » Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:57 pm

This is all so very grown up ::): I need time to ponder all this. In the meantime, found this quit interesting, from The New Glasgow Society's website:

NGS Project - Gorbals Burial Ground wrote:NGS has recently surveyed the stones which remain in the park. Unbeknown to us when we started this project, the park will soon be planted with fruit trees and renamed the Gorbals Orchard. Artworks and landscaping should make the park more appealing to visitors, so it is used more. We are looking at ways of making available the infomation we have gathered, to enhance vistors' experience of the Orchard.


An ice-breaker?

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Postby Bruce » Thu Jan 06, 2005 7:30 pm

crusty_bint wrote:The whole "ethos" of Hidden Glasgow is about exchange and sharing of information . . . a centralised resource or reference point for all the conservation groups in and around Glasgow . . . where people interested in whats going on in Glasgow can get accurate information. . . . This is where HG's strengths are . . . .

Where conservation groups would come in is by providing information on such issues, acting as a place to exchange info with each other and thus raising thier own profile, in return, these groups could promote Hidden Glasgow to thier members.


Crusty


Spot on Crusty - I think we have to build on HG's current strengths.

I'm not convinced about the benefits of any kind of formal tie up with existing amenity bodies, but I think there's definate merit in pursuing informal connections (as outlined above by crusty).

As regards the ALC - I think it would be vry big shift for HG to get to the situation where it could make representations - as CC says this would probably involve having some sort of formal , constitution, membership and maybe even charitable status. As possible idea (in line with the ethos outlined above) would be if HG could publish details of the cases that come up at ALC - for the forums to discuss. The council may not go for this idea, but if they are truly serious about public consulation and involvement in the planning process then it would make sense.

Copyright may also be an issue - but I don't see how this is really any different from e-planning (http://www.scotland.gov.uk/about/Planning/eplanning.aspx) which we're meant to be getting soon anyway. (They already have this in Aberdeenshire, Clackmannan & East Lothian see - http://www.ukplanning.com)

One relatively straightforward idea would be to set up a new section of the site that deals purely with buildings at risk / planning issues etc.

HG could also give pointers to it's members about how make comments / objections to planning applications, and point them in the direction of the various existing amenity bodies.

I know I'm new here - but I think HG's strengths are that it is a very loose collective. I think to try to formalise it, or even to attempt to speak with one voice, and you run the risk of alienating some of the users.

Anyway - I've had my tu-penny's worth.

cheers - bruce
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Postby escotregen » Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:51 pm

In the interests of giving as much scope as possible to other contributers. I will try to hold back a little here. It's important we hear from as many as possible - including some of the more usually passive supporters of HG that are around.

Meantime, I would like to agree with Dickyhart's suggestion that a meeting could be usefully convened. However, I suggest we need to let the online debate continue awhile to get a better feel for the community 'entity' that Sharon focuses on; and I appreciate Sharon's and Molindinar's point about the essential aspect of having fun at the heart of it all.

One other suggestion is that if it came to funding issues, we should also think about the private sector CSR funds and foundations - their advantage is that while they still come with conditions attached, they are an alternative to the embrace of our kailyard officialdom (whether that be the 'Cooncil' or Scottish Executive agencies
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Postby Modernhousing » Fri Jan 07, 2005 9:27 am

I'am a newbie to the site but have been reading some of the posts for a quite while. It seems it would be a good idea to take the site a step further and most of all have some fun.

Re: EscortRegen


You do have solid and valid points. I am one in agreement and would also like to hold back to see other people's views. I do see you post on ALOT of other regeneration sites as well. I am similar to yourself and worked in Housing Associations for a while.
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Postby Closet Classicist » Fri Jan 07, 2005 9:37 am

I know I'm new here - but I think HG's strengths are that it is a very loose collective. I think to try to formalise it, or even to attempt to speak with one voice, and you run the risk of alienating some of the users


An eloquent summing up Bruce. These are indeed HG's strengths. Perhaps my ALC comments are too much and too drastic a step to take? A loose collective that at least informs people of what is happening and of the next steps they can take if they want to get more involved is perhaps a better bet? Maybe formalising things would ruin it?

With regards to copyright this is covered by the Townplanning act. Don't think it counts if you are reproducing something for criticism.

Cheers

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Postby Molendinar » Fri Jan 07, 2005 10:34 am

Sorry if this looks like something from a corporate powerpoint, but it summarises my personal view of the different strands of this "loose collective"

Image

discuss...?


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Postby Sharon » Fri Jan 07, 2005 10:44 am

This discussion clearly needs to run a while longer, which is fine. there is no rush to cast this in stone.

Bruce. You probably have identified the strngth and nature of HG pretty well. We are a loose collective who share an interest in the city.

Some more thoughts...

Something I'd like to see more of is going back to what Ronnie said earlier about "producing" things like leaflets, organising walks etc (I'd still like to hire a bill board...). These reflect what we are all about here.

What we all have in common is that we are passionate about the city we live in, we want to preserve its qualities (buildings etc) and the things that make it unique and interesting to be in. We don't want to ever find we have walked the length of a street and had nothing catch our eye, thats when we know we have lost our sense of place. Which is where the conservationists AND developers come in. We all want to preserve interesting space which stimulates athe creation of identity and belonging?

Another trait common to many HG folks is a strong spirit of discovery. We walk along the streets and we are not looking at our feet; we are looking to be inspired. Inspired to take a different path or perhaps to reflect on how a building has evolved to where it is now. There is a strong desire to be connected to the environment and not just marshalled through it.

Just thoughts... feel free to add some more :)
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