How might Henri Lefebvre's concept of 'appropriation' be applied to lane morphologies to increase the walkability of Glasgow's Blythswood gridiron?
People walk in the city. They utilize and appropriate the built forms to serve the spatial requirement for their social activities. The urban narratives tell the stories of civic development and the socio-political fabric of life(s) behind them. With interest in pedestrian spatial justice and urban informality, the project investigates Glasgow's lanes' potential to improve urban walkability.
Developed in the 1970s, the Blythwood gridiron has changed over time, often with the Georgian townhouse outliving its original use resulting in repurposing or replacing building and plot amalgamation. While lanes in different cities are adapted to suit contemporary lifestyles, Glasgow's laneway remains a non-place associated with service functions. The contemporary Blythswood gridiron displays such 'disappearing laneways, yet opportunity in the form of unbuilt, low buildings and tightly constrained laneways in several Blythswood blocks.
Through the typo-morphological lens of Lefebvre's 'appropriation' concept, the research-led design project suggests an alternative of laneways for improving the pedestrian experience , promoting the 'festive' ludic city. As cities embrace sustainable developments in the 21st century, the suitable laneway that embraces 'play' married to specific morphologies could particularize cities as places and improve their overall walkability in the city.