The legacy of Red Road

Red Road a notorious estate located in the North-East part of Glasgow is due to demolished as part of the Glasgow 2014 opening Ceremony. The demolition is a symbol of the new, cosmopolitan and a modernised Glasgow. The Greater Glasgow Authority has seen this as a way of promoting Glasgow as a prosperous, economic hub full of optimism and hope.

The Red Road demolition is incredibility important to Glaswegian’s as the Red Road Flats are seen as a brutal representation of poverty, social exclusion and inequality. In the 1960’s when these flats were built they were seen to be somewhere where people aspired to live in. The poor, squalid conditions of Glaswegian tenement blocks were previously used to house the poor. In areas where run down, inhabitable tenement blocks existed; crime, violence, corruption and ill-health were present. This is what happened with Red Road: the high rise blocks became the new tenement blocks.

By the 1970’s Red Road has suffered a momentous decline, a place where people were queuing up to be a part of now its residents were queuing to leave. The estate had become run-down and squalor was present all throughout the flats. The poorest and the most vulnerable ended up in these flats living in a densely populated space. The amount of people who were crammed together made it easy for criminal activity to take place. This was through petty vandalising through to organised gangs carry out illegal activities in the tower blocks.

The flats were also seen to be “slum like” in the way that people had to live in squalor and in unfit housing conditions. With being poor in Glasgow, these were the places where the Council would put people to ease the overcrowding issue. This point is reinforced by the fact that one of the blocks is used to house asylum seekers from all over the World. In 2010, a Russian family committed suicide in the blocks out of fear and desperation.

Red Road should have been realistically been demolished 30 years ago when it became unfit for people to live in. The point of using the demolition of Red Road in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is that the organisers and the Greater Glasgow Authority can use this as a promotion stunt for the “New Glasgow”. The New Glasgow is expected to be a commercial, financial economic hub as well as keeping the Glasgow integrity to attract tourism. With global coverage of the 2014 Commonwealth Games the transformation to modernised, bohemian, cosmopolitan Glasgow is set to being prosperity and redevelopment.

In many ways everyone is winner from this, Glasgow Greater Authority gains positive publicity which they can use for investment, residents are re-housing into better housing conditions. However the losers will be the asylum seekers who will be continued to be housed in the last Red Road Flat.

Amy Milliken


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