Applying our learning about urban greening and green infrastructure

greenspace scotland completed a case study looking at the potential to retrofit green infrastructure into Glasgow city centre. This work was carried out in partnership with Glasgow City Council and the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership and supported by Heriot Watt University.

Previous studies by greenspace scotland have shown the role that rain gardens, swales and green roofs etc. could play in tackling the impacts of climate change and improving overall quality of place in towns and cities. Research commissioned by the Green Network Partnership has shown that a 20% increase in green cover in Glasgow would be sufficient to reduce projected temperature rises and to maintain ambient temperatures within a comfortable range for the majority of people.

This study looked at an area within the city centre to see whether this 20% increase of green cover could be achieved in such a way as to deliver surface water management benefits and to tackling key place quality issues. The study explores how a range of potential combinations and locations of greening could contribute to local climate change and place-making priorities.

Key findings from the study are:

  • a combination of rain gardens, swales, street trees, green roofs and green walls could deliver the 20% increase in green cover while intercepting surface water and meeting the place priorities for the city centre
  • the ‘in-street green infrastructure components’ could be accommodated in wide pavements and on sections of street currently covered by double yellow lines without significant impacts on pedestrian routes, streets and parking
  • a doubling of green cover in George Square and designing in green infrastructure within the development sites on George Street would remove the need for using green roofs to meet the 20% target (there are still good reasons for using green roofs for water management and insulation of buildings)
  • the use of a modular rain garden system would reduce the problem of accommodating underground services; potentially make repair work on services easier and more cost-effective and would have a comparable cost to existing pavement surfaces in the city centre


A digest of the study will form part of the weADAPT web resource 

Download a copy of the report here