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Posts Tagged ‘Glasgow 2020’

The Power of Story and Hope Continued

Gerry Hassan

December 9th 2009

A beautiful piece by Libby Brooks in ‘The Guardian’ today on the wonderful work of the Galgael Trust in Govan who build astounding boats – Gaelic longboats or birlinns – and use this to aid young men and women refinding traditional skills, hope and exploring the waterways of the river Clyde (1).

Her article also has a very positive mention of my Glasgow 2020 project, coming up for two and half years after it concluded its activities. She states talking about the work and conclusions of Glasgow 2020 that ‘if a sense of history is about a grasp of narrative and one’s place in it, this can only assist us in imagining the future’. The project found that ‘inhabitants of some of the most deprived areas continued to tell stories of optimism for the future of their families, friends and neighbourhoods’. She concludes, ‘The true legacy of history can be hope’. Read the rest of this entry »

The Dreaming City: The First Step To A Better World Is Imagining One

Gerry Hassan

Soundings: A Journal of Politics and Culture ‘Tales of the City’ Special Issue WInter 2007

Thinking of the future is one of the characteristics of being human through the ages and different societies. Imagining different worlds can be seen in the novels of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne and in the modernist visions of films such as Metropolis and Minority Report with their urban utopian/distopian worlds of flying cars and isolated individuals.

However, these powerful public images are far removed from the world of institutional futures thinking, commonly known as futurology. This began with the establishment of the RAND Corporation in 1946 which focused on issues such as how the Americans could win a limited nuclear war, Mutually Assured Destruction and the missile gap between the US and Soviets. This narrow, technocratic world has seen the powerful forces who run the world: governments, transnationals, international agencies, engage in scenario planning ….. Read the rest of this entry »

Glasgow 2020: Final Project Paper

Gerry Hassan, Melissa Mean and Charlie Tims

Glasgow 2020, a ‘project of mass imagination’ – which  shows how new media, and community outreach, could be combined to generate and sustain this new culture of seriousness.

Pat Kane, The Democratic Interact, 2007

1. Introduction
This project paper covers the following areas:

•    The idea of ‘the official future’
•    The importance of story
•    Learning from the process
•    Learning from the content
•    Glasgow possible futures
•    Assemblies of hope
•    Lessons for public agencies
•    Dissemination Read the rest of this entry »



Glasgow 2020 set out with a belief in the power and importance of story – of story as a way to develop mass imagination, to contribute towards the reimagining of Glasgow and the articulation of a non-institutional view of the city, and to further the understanding and practice of futures literacy.

There are numerous ways of developing creative discussion and dialogue. Many of these are used in scenario planning, forecasting and strategic corporate decision-making. Such techniques include the idea of the ‘strategic conversation’ which in the words of Peter Schwartz is based on ‘continuous organisational learning about key decisions and priorities.’ Then there is the idea of ‘civic conversations’, which has been recently put forward by Anthony Grayling, and which has been utilised in places to advance a professional and institutional process about better public policy and delivery. These approaches both have their places, particularly in institutional settings. Read the rest of this entry »


When the mood of the music changes, the walls of the city shake.

Late 1960s slogan, attributed to Plato


The first step to a better future is imagining one. Glasgow 2020 has been a practical experiment to find an alternative to the closed city by opening up Glasgow’s future to the mass imagination of its citizens. This chapter shares the storylines generated for the future of Glasgow and explores what it and other cities can learn from the process. It then asks how bottom-up storylines can be turned into action and begins to map out the core components of what it would mean for a place to become a more open city in terms of everyday governance, culture, design and planning. It concludes by identifying a number of places of hope and imagination in the city and sketches out the notion of ‘assemblies of hope’ as one vessel to carry forth and nurture change. Read the rest of this entry »

Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. more >
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