Glasgow City Region: choosing to flourish in our future climate

An illustration of Midsteeple town centre with people shopping, walking and playing in the high street.
Published: 23/08/2021

To introduce our Climate Action Towns work, we asked partners across Scotland to write about how Scotland’s towns can address climate change. Here Catherine Pearce of Climate Ready Clyde outlines how Glasgow City Region can flourish in our future climate.

Glasgow City Region is a diverse and varied area. It is a blend of a major city, towns and villages, as well as mixed landscape and rural environments. It is the local context that frames people’s opportunities, capacity, influence and their experiences of and responses to climate change. And all according to where they live, work and play.

Glasgow City Region’s Climate Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan

Climate Ready Clyde developed Glasgow City Region’s first Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan to kick-start and scale up the region’s adaptation action. Launched in June, it sets out a comprehensive blueprint of how working with others, driving structural, systemic change and innovation, we will transform the region so that we flourish in our future climate.

It is designed to be a catalyst and a call to action for all organisations, communities and businesses with a stake in Glasgow City Region. It invites them to join in, step forward and step up to build the region’s social, economic and environmental resilience to climate change.

It has been acknowledged by the Climate Change Committee as one of the leading examples of how to address the risks of climate change in the UK. It is a first regional approach of its kind for Scotland and a recognised best-in-class in Europe.

Place-based priority areas

The strategy identifies a set of priority areas that are regionally and nationally significant for adaptation. These are areas where there are one or more of the following conditions:

  • current and future climate hazards are most acute
  • there is the potential to affect disproportionately vulnerable communities
  • there are significant concentrations of economic asset
  • where significant regional decisions are being taken in relation to new development that require account of climate risks, current and future

In developing the Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan, Climate Ready Clyde defined place-based priorities to help provide a focus for where some of the 11 strategy interventions should take place on the ground.

Much of the ambition in this strategy is aligned to existing or emerging Scottish policy, driven by the outcomes in the National Performance Framework. Scotland’s Place Principle is integral to our approach.

Building resilience of communities and people

Glasgow City Region is a place where people, location and resources combine to create a sense of identity and purpose.

At the heart of the place-based priority within the Strategy and Action Plan is the people and communities who live, work and play here.

The central vision behind the strategy is for a Glasgow City Region that flourishes in the future climate. This requires a systemic approach to build transformational change, to ensure inclusivity and collaboration, and to build a just resilience.

Multiple benefits derive from locally-led and inclusive adaptation action and placemaking. These can often include:

  • empowered communities and organisations working together
  • improved health and well-being
  • increased open and green space

These are all in addition to reduced climate risks, and often bring alignment with net zero commitments into sharper focus.

Locally led, co-designed and owned solutions are more likely to directly respond to and address local needs. They are likely to be more long lasting and effective as a result. This approach also brings the potential to bring new and informed forms of governance, decision-making and community ownership and agency.

The Principles for Locally-Led Adaptation offer a helpful framework and means of navigation to apply place-based initiatives. It has community and local leadership and ownership as a central focus.

Driving collaboration and inclusivity

The process of developing the strategy and action plan, through extensive collaboration and engagement, highlighted the need to broaden and involve new perspectives and actors. There are many ways of taking a more inclusive approach.

These include the creative and cultural sectors to help build a groundswell of broader and more diverse voices and different ways of thinking. We are also seeking engagement with the private sector to unlock new and innovative finance and investment in support of the transition.

Action to deliver the strategy and action plan is urgent and demands rapid progress. Making hard choices now means we avoid harder ones in future. Doing so will bring lasting benefits for everyone in the region, as well as for wider Scotland.

About Climate Ready Clyde

Climate Ready Clyde is a cross-sector initiative funded by fifteen member organisations and supported by the Scottish Government to create a shared vision, Strategy, and Action Plan for an adapting Glasgow City Region. Climate Ready Clyde is managed and delivered by Scottish sustainability charity Sniffer, which has a central vision for a flourishing and fair future for all in a changing climate.

Header image credit: Richard Carman

Share your place-based climate action

We would like to hear from communities and local authorities who are creating carbon conscious places. If you are designing and adapting a place to reduce, repurpose and absorb carbon, please share examples of your work with us.

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