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15 minute city cafes: pedal to cafes in each direction from Glasgow's city centre
In recent years the streets and spaces of Paris have been going through some significant changes. Lead by their progressive mayor Anne Hidalgo, the city has been implementing the idea of becoming a '15 minute city', a concept which has become popular in the fields of urban geography and planning. The 15 minute city is an idea (rather than a specific place or location) in which the design of a city allows for residents to walk, wheel or cycle from their homes to fulfil necessities, and other aspects of life, in their local communities- things from shopping and work, through to culture and learning, and, importantly, places for having fun. There is a focus on remaking communities to be more sociable (and ecological).
It looks like its is going pretty well in Paris- just imagine spending some time wandering here...
Glasgow has been developing its own version of the 15 minute city concept, which it has called (20 minute) Liveable Neighbourhoods. They are plans which align with wider Scottish Government policy for way we need to redesign our places to meet some of the big challenges we face, particularly related to sustainability issues. It will mean big changes to the city if (and I say if) they are implemented.
I was thinking of a way of playing with, and putting into practice, the idea of 15 minute cities on my bike in the context of Glasgow, and had an idea. Over one weekend (or so) could I visit some cafes (recognising that they are pretty important part of being in the city to me) from the centre of Glasgow, each within a quarter of an hour easy cycling distance? In addition to the cafes, could I also tie in doing some social and recreational things that I enjoy too?
The wee video here talks a little more of my plans, when after my Park Run at Queen's Park in the city's southside on Saturday morning I started on my weekend exploring good cafes each within 15 minutes cycling from the city's central George Square in a north, south, east and west direction (and one near the centre). As well as coffees and cakes, I also go to some art, culture and general wee explorations of the city. These are things that I like to do. But how can we make Glasgow more accessible by active travel means so that more people can get to do things in the places around them that they like (or might like to do)? What parts of the city can you do stuff like this, what parts of the city can't you? Is there an inequality to how places and provided for and designed? What things need to change if we are to achieve a 15 minute city, or 20 minute liveable neighbourhoods?
Do you maybe want to learn a wee bit more about the ideas of 15 minute cities? Well, Glasgow's own Natalie Whittle, who runs the brilliant southside bookshop Outwith Books (with plenty of good cafes nearby!) has written a great accessible book on the idea. (Good wee independent bookstores seem like something that should be part of the fabric of a 15 minute city for me...) They say don't judge a book by its cover- but I do like the design of this one (see in collage below)!
Here are a couple of collages that show some of the places I got to on my bike...
Gusto and Relish (check that Danish pastry!) in the southside
1841 (check that twirled chocolate pastry!) in the west end
Tibo (open from morning till night) to the east
The Botany (more a bar and restaurant, but a nice spot) to the north
Smile Cafe (walkable in 15 minutes from George Square) in the city centre
The other stuff:
Queen's Park park run (a shout out to all the volunteers who come along all round the country to make these event happen)
The Hunterian Art Gallery and Mackintosh House (a favourite small art gallery that is part of Glasgow University)
Babbity Bowsters pub (for Saturday evening traditional Scottish music night, right in the city centre)
Some wanders and looking at things in the city between the showers and sunlight - from Kelvin Way to Garnethill
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