The following blog is a journey along an imaginary urban design / architectural project and for best understanding, reading in chronological order is recommended.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Population figures

We have already looked at how Govan has grown in terms of number of buildings and infrastructure in my earlier post ground figure plans but what about population. By collating census information we can now show you the growth of popoulation within Govan in relation to Glasgow in the graphs below.

We can see that Govan at its peak had a population of approx 90 thousand residents which has declined to approx 20 thousand by 1999. The growth was due to the impact of the industrial revolution and was population shift from rural areas to the rapidly growing cities. Families were generally larger and housing conditions were cramped with many sharing houses to keep rent low or until more housing stock became available. There is an absense of information between 1903 and 1971 so when the decline in Govan's population commenced, we can only make an assumption based upon the Glasgow graph that it probably occured after the 2nd world war. Many lost their lives during the war, much housing was reduced to rubble during the blitz and children were evacuated to the safety of rural areas. After the war, buying rather than renting your property became fashionable. More people chose to live in suburbs rather than city urban areas. Car ownership increased and the distance from home to work increased. Some urban areas became undesirable and bulldozed to the ground being replaced by new tower blocks for living in the sky. When the major industries (eg. Shipbuilding) employing the masses began to close, people had to move to find new work. So there are many factors and reasons why areas like Govan have had a decrease in population.

Of the 20 thousand who still live in the area, what keeps them there or attracts them? Govan still has good transport links to Glasgow city centre and so is a relatively short commute but it is worth noting that in the graph below, unemployment during the 90's were higher than that of the Glasgow average. It's maybe because of this that during the early 90's there was a Scottish TV comedy programme called 'Rab C Nesbitt' which was about an unemployed alchoholic character who lived in Govan. While it was a big hit, it probably was not a fair reflection on Govan and certainly didn't help to attract new inhabitants.

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