Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

Location: Sauchiehall Street

This long highway, heading out of Glasgow towards the west, has long been a major thoroughfare in the city. Built up from 1800 onwards as wealthy citizens wanted to build themselves homes on the outskirts of the city, it was straightened and named properly in the 1840s.

The street was regenerated in the 1860s, at the turn of the century and during the 1960s. Interestingly, although the name “Sauchiehall” actually comes from the Scots word meaning Willow Meadow by the river, the road has not had street trees before.

There was considerable decline in the road since the middle of the last century, as the retail and entertainment worlds have changed, and the main shopping areas have consolidated in the heart of the city. There have been many efforts to turn this around, and the awarding to the Glasgow City Region Deal funding meant that a proper scheme of revitalisation could be planned.

Central to the Green Avenues plan was to increase canopy cover in urban areas; Sauchiehall Street being the pilot scheme to showcase how green infrastructure can be used to change human behaviour by challenging the dominance of vehicles in the public realm. Twenty eight specimen trees have been planted in full GreenBlue Urban ArborSystems, providing a strong visual segregation between vehicles and pedestrians/cyclists. The tree pits are linked together, providing maximum rooting space in uncompacted aerated soil, giving the trees the best opportunity of attaining species potential. As well as the aesthetic attractiveness, (encouraging a pavement café culture atmosphere) these trees also provide a measure of pollution absorbance, and help cope with stormwater management by treating water run off from the paving areas through the tree pit soil.

These trees are a variety of species, chosen to give visual interest all of the year round, with different leaf colours, blossom and shape, carefully selected to enhance the street scene.

GreenBlue Urban worked closely with Glasgow City Highways, Civic Engineers, Landscape architects Urban Movement & Tree Consultants Ideverde Ltd to ensure that the scheme was simple to specify, easy to install and requires minimal maintenance – guaranteeing long term canopy cover for future Glaswegian generations.