Our Place

Block C Avenues

George Square

Through our public engagement to date, a number of key themes emerged to help shape the development of proposals for the future of George Square.

The outcomes of our conversations during the first two stages of Our Place have helped inform the design of a greener and more accessible Square which supports those walking and wheeling. The project team have thought carefully about how to respect the heritage of the Square, while exploring the opportunity for relocation of statues within the Square to accommodate new uses and create more spaces for people.


Heritage, monuments and public art

Transport and active travel

Future uses of George Square

Participants broadly supported a range of future uses for George Square that supported space for rest, relaxation and social interaction in smaller groups; of the range of options presented to participants, the most popular were seating, spaces to spend time during lunch breaks, and lawn spaces.

Environmental sustainability

Participants told us that their key environmental priority was enhancing long term air quality by reducing levels of pollution.

A summary of Stage 2 engagement findings is available here

The design proposals

The design team has put together a series of ideas for the future development of George Square. These take the lessons learned from our first stages of engagement and present designs with 3D sketches, information on the key features, and visualisations showing how the finished Square might look.

Once you have read through the imagery and information, there is an opportunity below where you can tell us about your reactions to these designs, your thoughts and anything else you would like to share. You can client to see any image in more detail.

An architectural site plan showing George Square, with numbers highlighting key features.
Proposal Plan for George Square and highlighting key design concepts: 1) raised lawn with seating edges; 2) sheltered seating and benches; 3) water feature; 4) sensory gardens and informal play; 5) rain gardens; 6) cycle stands; 7) taxi rank and Blue Badge parking spaces; 8) new tree planting; 9) relocated statues; and, 10) space for contemporary art installations

An active, animated, and welcoming space is the indicator of a thriving place.

The design concept is to create a welcoming space for local users and visitors to promote activity, diversity, social exchange, and cultural enrichment. Design proposals were the result of extensive site analysis andengagement with stakeholders and local community carried out during Stage 1 and 2 (full summaries of engagement outcomes can be found in the Previous Engagement section)

The emerging overarching design principles helped define the new layout for the Square and thesewill be carried throughout the project until completion.

These are:
• Respect vistas - enhance views towards key architectural features
• Enhance North-South link
• Protect and extend greenery
• Respect and enhance the central east west axis in the square comprising: City Chambers, Cenotaph and Sir Walter Scott Monument

An architectural visualisation of George Square. The foreground shows seating and planting areas. The background shows an area of grass around the foot of the Sir Walters Scott Statue.
Visualisation showing the central axis, looking West and highlighting the connection between Cenotaph and Sir Walter Scott Monument with new sensory planting and seating on the right

The existing monuments are part of the history of the Square and Glasgow. These were introduced to the Square at different times through history and became part of the square identity. The design proposals show the Cenotaph and Sir Walter Scott retained in their current arrangement.

The other 11 monuments are to be re-arranged within the Square as a response to the new layout and design ambition for a flexible space. Final locations will be agreed with GCC with the input of our team's heritage consultant.

The new layout is a result of the following key considerations:
• Desire lines through the Square
• Type of event taking place in Square
• Day to day uses of the Square such as seating, gathering, and playing
• Historic layout and importance
• Future proof the Square
• Cost implications

Further to the above, the proposed monument layout plays an important role on the enhancement of the different character areas of the Square and helps to mark main routes/arrival spaces. These contributes to way-finding and reinforces the unique identity of this grand space.

The design proposals comprise a public realm scheme, with the aim of delivering a more “people friendly”, more attractive, greener and more sustainable place.

Diagramatic Plan showing the key transport and movement design concepts and main thoroughfares for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, as well as highlighting access routes for Emergency Services
Diagramatic Plan showing the key transport and movement design concepts and main thoroughfares for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, as well as highlighting access routes for Emergency Services

In relation to Transport and Movement, a comprehensive street audit was carried out during Stage 1 to record existing transport infrastructure andinform the emerging design proposals. The aim was to ensure, in accordance with the National Transport Strategy Sustainable Travel Hierarchy, that sustainable modes were given greater importance than the private car.

The proposals have been developed taking into consideration the competing needs of all users, particularly in relation to kerbside space that requires to accommodate servicing, accessible parking, public transport infrastructure (bus stops and taxi ranks) and other street infrastructure such as cycle parking and finally car parking. All of this infrastructure serves the needs of users in varying ways, recognising that accessibility by all modes of transport contributesto the vitality and viability of a city. The diagram above summarises the operational strategy around the Square and emergency access routes.

An architectural visualisation showing young people playing amongst greenery.
Visualisation showing the new informal play, boardwalk and sensory gardens to the North side of the Square

Key features for George Square design:

  • Large lawn spaces
  • A large flexible hard open space that is flanked by covered seating
  • Cafe and restaurant breakout areas are scattered under the tree canopies on the western edge
  • Sensory planting adding colour, texture, movement, and smell to stimulate the senses and generate interest
  • Rain gardens - planted areas designed to capture rain water helping to reduce flooding risk and filter out sediments and pollutants. It will also promote wildlife with the creation of habitat for birds and butterflies
  • Existing statues to be retained and relocated within the Square

The next steps for the George Square proposals is for the design team to undertake surveys and coordinate any currently unknown constraints into a detailed design. The proposals will be submitted for Planning Approval in 2023 before work begins on technical designs for construction.