Urban wasteland being revamped with greenery

GALLANT - Glasgow as a Living Lab Accelerating Novel Transformation

Delivering a Climate Resilient City through City-University Partnership

Glasgow's City Portrait Project: A Thriving Cities Portrait for Glasgow

Glasgow City Council Leader, Cllr Susan Aitkin, launched Glasgow's participation in C40’s Thriving Cities Initiative in November 2021 during COP26.

This signifies the city’s ambition to move towards a green wellbeing economy in order to meet its ambitious social and environmental targets. An important step in the process of becoming a thriving city is the creation of a City Portrait, a tool for thinking about Glasgow in a holistic and innovative way.

The Glasgow's City Portrait Project aims to answer the question:

How can Glasgow be a home to thriving people, in a thriving place, while respecting the wellbeing of all people and the health of the whole planet?

The City Council is being supported by the University of Glasgow to create its Portrait, which will help the City think about the current situation, and define its ambitions and aspirations. The insights from the Portrait process will then be used to support Glasgow’s participation in the C40’s Thriving Cities Initiative and the new “town and gown” GALLANT Programme.

Basic summary of doughnut economics principles: Sustainable lifestyles are situated between an upper limit of permissible use (“Environmental ceiling”) and a lower limit of necessary use of environmental resources (“Social foundation”).What is a City Portrait?

City Portraits as trialled in other pilot Thriving Cities such as Amsterdam, Portland and Philadelphia) are tools that downscale the concepts of Doughnut Economics to the city level and consider the city of Glasgow through four interconnected lenses: local, global, social and ecological.

As ‘Our Dear Green Place’, Glasgow depends on a healthy natural environment for its citizens to thrive, but as the largest city in Scotland, Glasgow also influences a multitude of social and ecological outcomes that reverberate across our increasingly connected world.

Who will create the Portrait?

All of us! The Glasgow's City Portrait Project team have worked throughout 2022 and 2023 to organise a series of workshops with participants from a diverse range of sectors, including the community. 

By creating a portrait of Glasgow collaboratively, we will bring multiple perspectives on the city to life. It allows us to identify the policy and operational levers that could trigger transformative progress and have the biggest impact on all four lenses. We are developing a shared vision of what ‘Thriving’ would mean for Glasgow, and discuss how we can define or track our progress towards more meaningful measures of societal and planetary wellbeing.

After its launch, the portrait will continue to adapt and change as time goes on. By continually refining it, we can use it to inform the City’s policy development and also as input to an ambitious new research endeavour that the University is undertaking with the City, the £10.2 million, five-year research programme GALLANT.

Glasgow's City Portrait Project Team

Led by Prof Petra Meier, who is also a Co-PI on the GALLANT programme and co-leads GALLANT's Work Stream 1: Systems Thinking, which will be incorporating the Glasgow's City Portrait work and threading it through all of GALLANT's research.

Project Research Associate is Annika Hjelmskog - contact her with queries.

Project Manager for the first year of the project was Petra Baiba Olehno.