Inspire

Home of original thinking

From the people who move you: Natalie Simpson

When people think of 'urban living', many might be mistaken for thinking that calling a city “home” is akin to living in a concrete jungle with little green space, and where people live anonymously with lack of community. However, the reality is that these assumptions couldn't be further from the truth - especially where I live here in Glasgow. Here, I want to tell you my experiences of the past 12 months, what I have seen in the local community and why the appeal of urban living endures for many.

Having lived in Glasgow now for around 13 years, I know first-hand that it isn't just one city with one personality or a single type of culture. In fact, the way locals like to think of it is that Glasgow is made up of interconnecting urban villages, each with its own amenities, vibe and identity. This structure is reflected in other cities where different neighbourhoods stitch together to create the tapestry of the overall city. Those who live in these neighbourhoods think of themselves as villagers in their own area, and with this comes a greater sense of community. With the events of the past 12 months really turning life upside down for many, the local community really came into its own as we supported one another.

While we did already know our neighbours here in Glasgow before the pandemic, we now belong to a WhatsApp group of around 150 houses on our street. We have been checking in on each other to make sure everyone is OK and offering support when people need it such as food shopping and picking up prescriptions. We have also been using it to market furniture when we have been having a bit of a clear out. But the biggest moment of our street coming together was when we had different households give musical performances across a period of about five weeks: it was like we had our own neighbourhood band! It was really emotional and lifted the spirits in some of the most challenging times.

And when it comes to the myth that all cities are grey, over populated and miserable, Glasgow has an abundance of green spaces because of the way it was designed. Yes, there might have been those that have left cities since the onset of the pandemic in search of more green space, but for many, they took advantage of the parks on our doorstep - me included. I have cycled around the city more in the past 12 months than ever before. Cities are culturally and historically significant, in fact Glasgow has been used so many times as a film location because of its similarity in appearance to historic parts of New York. So we spent some of our days trying to track down places that have graced the silver screen. This includes 1917, filmed in the Govan Graving Docs, and also The Batman, where parts of Glasgow doubled as Gotham City.

But for me one of the greatest benefits of living in a city over the past year has been having all the local shops and amenities on my doorstep. The ability to just be able to pop out for some supplies has really been a lifesaver and it's no wonder that this desire to have everything you need a short walk away has been reflected in our latest Life Moves research. When asked which were the most important amenities people were looking for when searching for a new home, unsurprisingly supermarkets topped the list, followed by local shops and corner shops. And it is this that we see time and time again from our clients along with the desire for access to outside space.

Another trend that we have seen across the past 12 months has been the desire for homes that allow for multigenerational living. We are seeing how people just want to be living with their extended family, or they want to have the option that they can accommodate people when they are able to visit. As such, a townhouse with an annexe, or a space that they can build a granny flat, have really been flying.

The past year has taught us a lot about how we live as well as showing us how we want to live. While many city centres might have looked like they have been sleeping over the course of the pandemic, those living in them have seen how community spirit has thrived and I think this is something that all who are living in a city have really been able to enjoy - and will take forward as normality resumes.


You may also like...