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Greenock Scotland

Dah 525 Architecture and the City

Steve Szell

on 26 April 2015

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Transcript of Greenock Scotland



Greenock is a coastal city located in the southern region of scotland, on the southern bay of the Firth of Clyde. The city maintains a population of 44 248 persons as of the 2013 census and has a fairly dense built environment, (Visit Scotland, 2015).

The city pertains to the district of Inverclyde and borders on the Cities Gourock and Port Glasgow to the East and West respectively. In 2013 the extents of Inverclydes parliamentary constituency where reviewed and determined once again, with the local community constituencies being broken into respective portions to allow for more specific management of areas. While functioning as a singular city, the community council of Greenock has been broken into 6 sections, (Boundary Commission for Scotland, 2013).

The town remains one of the major administrative/ industrial cities of the area and provides a key docking point within the Firth of Clyde as it is located within 25 miles of the major Scottish city Glasgow.

Greenock is a city characterized by its features and was developed both as a response to its environment and the need for more sufficient infrastructure to accommodate the towns booming fishing economy, (primarily during the 1800's). Greenock while clearly being built along the coastline was also at a a prime location due to the sheltering effects of Lyle hill. The city has grown along the coastline and along the base of the hillside, retaining it as a landmark and green point within the city. Lyle hill has been celebrated over the years by residents as a point of reflection, (Visit Scotland, 2015), using its south eastern peak as the site of the Greenock cemetery and scattering a small array of landmarks across the ridge, including the much celebrated anchor statue in commemoration of the loss of the Maille Breze not far off the cities coast during world war 2, (Editors of the Gazatteer, 2015).

The city has many long ongoing elements to its development both culturally and in infrastructure including the Greenock library; established in 1783, with its eventual growth to incorporate a foreign library in 1834; a large array of Victorian era architecture located along the bay including residential flats, houses and an unfinished 245 ft tall tower which stands as a landmark on the north westerly area of the city,(Visit Scotland, 2015); Greenocks three principal news papers,
The Greenock Advertiser
Greenock Herald
1852 and
Greenock Tellegraph
1857. The city was also the site of the world first Burns club, and boasts the first docking station on the Firth of Clyde, established in 1711, (Editors of the Gazatteer, 2015).
Greenock's specific origins are a point of debate with local historians and is essentially unknown. What is known about the cities establishing are the circumstances for its eventual growth and development over the years. Greenock began as a small fishing community spread out along St. Laurences bay and was likely colonised for its picturesque views across the bay and its prime point as a launching point due to the protection of the curve of the bay,(Denholm, 2000). The origin of the city's name is also topic of much debate but is popularly viewed as being derived from the founding locals constantly referring to a green oak tree which unusually grew on the bay, (Editors of the Gazatteer, 2015).

The settlements eventual growth into an established town was due to two factors. The first that the central point of growth came from the villages 3 religious establishments, St. Laurence's, St. Blane's and Chapelton Church around 1589. These churches provided a backbone to the community. The second from the growth of the fishing community linked aswell with John Shaw's instigation of the towns development, including having the city named as a chapter of the "Burgh of Barony" in 1641 which allowed the town to host market places and provide revenue. Again with the push for development from John Shaw the towns first dry stone pier was built soon after this naming which again provided a sturdy back bone of growth within the community, (Editors of the Gazatteer, 2015).

1825 -1842
The first coherent map for Greenock was produced in 1825. This period of growth saw a substantial growth in the towns occupation of the coast line beginning with a centralised town centre with regional lots, to a more densely occupied town centre which extended to the north along the bay, (Editors of the Gazatteer, 2015).

1893 - 1955
Between 1842 - 1893 there where additions to the coastline in the form of harbours which was produced due to a combination of Greenocks growth and investment into future growth of the town. The additions are as follows; Steam Boat Quay, 1818; Victoria Harbour, 1850; East India Harbour, 1862; and James Watt Dock, 1881, (Editors of the Gazatteer, 2015).

In comparing the respective development in the Firma Urbis in the last 188 years, the extent of growth is clearly visible with Greenocks final extents beginning to penetrate into the highlands of Inverclyde. The most densely populated points are the central coast where the town originated, being maintained through the years as the primary business and commercial point in the city, (Editors of the Gazatteer, 2015).

During this period of growth saw a substantial shift in growth in the town, where the regional lots of the town where no longer present and instead the city centre grew out from a dense nexus point to residential regions. Over this time the coastline was heavily modified to accommodate new docking points to sustain the continued growth of the towns economy, establishing Greenock as a major harbour point in the Firth of Clyde. There was much investment into the urban development of the city at this point including; well park, built 1851; wellington park, built 1872; Lyle road, built 1880; (all gifted or funded by gifted from sir Michael Shaw Stewart); and Post Office Building, built in 1880, (Editors of the Gazatteer, 2015).

The Forma Urbis characterizes the towns extent, and while not being descriptive in the type of urban environment presented, it does display the extents and growth of the city. Greenock can be seen to be approximately twice the size of its neighboring cities, Gourock and Port Glasgow, with the formal city boundaries extending into the Firth, (Visit Scotland, 2015). The extents of Greenock in this representation are as depicted in the cities council extents and as such, the built environments physical extents are indicated with the white dash. This tells us that although the urban form is slightly different to the formally defined zones, there is a certain amount of growth which these extended proportions allow for, should there be need for it.

Forma Urbis

The city of Greenock contains approximately 8,500 individual buildings, the vast majority of which being multi level building forms. From the figure ground representation there are three types of density formations which are clearly discernible. The most highly populated areas belong to both the business/industrial districts and the residential areas. The docking coast line has the least dense building groupings, but instead offer large warehouses for storage and customs housing. This low building density impends onto the city formation south of the Business district and separates east Greenock from the rest of the city, causing it to grow inland.

Figure Ground
comparing these observations to the density diagram, it is clearly visible that the majority of the city is densely built in, with an approximate average of 50-60% of these lots footprints belonging to buildings. The medium and low density area's are subject to contexts where more space is required for the occupying entity on each site, i.e. schools, hospitals, institutes, industrial buildings.
Density Analysis
The topography has been mapped in increments of 10m heights from water level, with the highest point being 130m at Lyle Hill. From the initial representation it can be seen that the topography maintains a relatively small and steady increase along the coastline, continuing still into the inland region. The heights remain particularly consistent surrounding Lyle Hill though, providing a partial valley inland.
Topographical Analysis
Compared to the Figure Ground representation we can see the majority of building density and growth of the city extends through the blue portions, where the ground level is relatively consistent and flat. This also provides an indication as to why the city grew as it did, being a fishing community and wanting to maintain it's relationship with the coastline, it was logical to grow towards the north below Lyle Hill. As the community grew however it would have been natural to extend through said valley and surround the hillside.

The city pattern describes the regimentation of urban form to allow for a good level of occupiable space and easy access to and from the cities various points. In the Case of Greenock, there are a few variations as to the approach depending on the context. Simply it can be broken down into; Primary access routes, where there is direct access to all sides of urban forms; secondary access routes, where there are groupings of urban spaces by primary roads which produce isolated paths and clusters; Informal routes, where the a section of the city can be navigated independently or followed to return to primary routes.
Along the bay side, there is a regimented grid formation which produces island of urban forms, accessible from all sides. Easy navigation and way finding without the use of landmarks.
Through the central business centre there is a breakdown in this grid, and while the primary roads are maintained there is a larger grouping of urban forms with sub routes to access them specifically.
In the inland residential lots the routes seem to curve around with respect to the topography and as such loop back around. This type of form makes way finding difficult and rather than producing islands of urban form, follow the street to access each individual point.

This representation aims to display the uses of each building within the city, breaking it down into 5 categories. It can be seen that the majority of urban form is subject to residential occupation, with the commercial and business constructs being the second most. Being that there is sufficient transportation links into and out of the City, and given the fact that the residential buildings flow out inland and border on both Gourock and Port Glasgow, it would be safe to assume that in the increased economy that a good portion of the residents while residing in Greenock would work elsewhere. The fact that there is such a large disparity between the amount of residential buildings and commercial, while also the majority of Greenocks business/commercial points are along the coast, it could be said that the primary economic driver of the town is still pertaining to the docks.

Functional Analysis

The mobility Map indicates the transport routes and accessibility into, out of and around Greenock. The city is at an easily accessible vantage point as it is the end of the A8 motor way linking the city to others such as Glasgow, and provides two separate train lines with a total of 9 stops.

Mobility Map
A representation of the Greenspace throughout Greenock. As the city is located along the Firth of Clyde and is in a region well known for its greenery it is helpful to indicate the amount of green space in the town. While the amount of forestry and dense foliage is relatively low, there is a large amount of urban space dedicated to green zones, both private and public.
The morphological mapping indicates the variance of building types throughout the city. It can be observed that the majority of the City is made up of multi level buildings, and a large majority of 'split houses' being the primary housing type of the city. There is a large amount of multi level apartment buildings throughout Greenock also, breaking down into multipurpose buildings in the city centre. There is no specific categorization or regimentation between the building types, as at the boundary points there is a large degree of overlap. Rather it can be said that there are portions of the city which have grown to be dedicated areas for residential dwellings, or commercial entities. There are also a number of historical buildings/cultural points throughout the town including; 9 significant church buildings including the "old west kirk" containing stained glass works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti; custom house, now the Museum; Beacon Arts Centre.
Morphological Analysis
Nolli Map
Indicates the Publically accessible commercial points in the Business district.
The sections indicate in detail the difference between different place types. Section one describes the residential layout inland, where there is much more of a slope to respond to ass opposed to section two in the Business district. section two also has a different building morphology, being that the buildings are for residential and office use respectively they are designed to accommodate more users.
Urban Section
Urban sections indicated describe the flow of the city's building height relationships and resolution with the topography, From perspective and areal imagery it is not visible the extent of fall there is in the topography, which is key to understanding the cities development and morphology.
The industrial section of Greenock, there is a clear sparcity in the way in which the landscape can be interpreted or reused by the individual. The majority of open space is dedicated to path formations in the road and footpath, which are then made secular by the boundaries of the fence and straight vertical wall.
Residential street on the bayside, while it is much more inviting to the user it still does not leave much to interpretation by an individual, with arguably more rigid boundaries as the street is less open and wide. There are clearer edges though as the cars which line the street provide a permeable barrier.
Residential street in the western side of greenock, the street is open and less rigid in its boundaries. Despite this the main public use is again that of a thoroughfare to get to a more inviting area.
Residential street inland, south. The area is dedicated to residential building space and as such is more open to users. the boundaries are permeable and while do not directly invite individuals to use the space, they do allow for neighbours to make use of the 'inbetween' spaces characterized by the edges.
Street near the business district. The openness again provides an inviting atmosphere, this time allowing for reinterpretation by the passer by, afforded to whom with a nodal point in the form of a park.
Residential street, The environment is a large thorough fare, as the large impeding buildings border off the potential nodal points.
Site Used for !1:1000 Model
An Overview of the median statistics of Greenock. This information is important to consider when looking at Greenock in it's modern day incarnation. The advent of a global market has caused expansion not only in the residential amount of the town, but in the cultural sense there is more diversity to be found, with a small portion of residents not originally from Scotland.

Chapman, R., Stewart and Meikle, 1798, complied by Denholm, James, 2000. "The History of the City of Glasgow and Suburbs: compiled from authentic records and other respectable authorities." Accessed April 13, 2015.

Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2015. Greenock. Scotland Accessed april 8, 2015. http://www.scottish-places.info/towns/townhistory340.html

GenMaps, 2014. Renfrewshire. Scotland: Ancestry.com. Accessed April 8, 2015. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~genmaps/genfiles/COU_Pages/SCO_pages/rfw.htm

National Library of Scotland, 2007. Town Plans/ Views, 1580 - 1919. Scotland. Accessed April 6, 2015. http://maps.nls.uk/towns/#greenock

SCROL, 2015. Comparative Population Profile: Greenock Locality Scotland. Scotland, Accessed April 9, 2015. http://www.scrol.gov.uk/scrol/browser/profile.jspprofile=Population&mainArea=greenock&mainLevel=Locality

Trip Advisor, 2015. Greenock Cemetery. Australia. Accessed April 7, 2015. http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g186553-d1580792-Reviews-Greenock_Cemetery-Greenock_Inverclyde_Scotland.html

Visit Scotland, 2015. Greenock, Towns and Villages. Scotland. Accessed April 6, 2015. http://www.visitscotland.com/en-au/info/towns-villages/greenock-p237421

Mapping Sources


Topographic-map.com, 2015. Greenock. United Kingdom. Accessed April 9, 2015. http://en-gb.topographic-map.com/places/Greenock-419980/

Walk Highlands, 2015. GPS Route Planner, Greenock Inverclyde. Scotland. Accessed April 6, 2015. http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/maps/?sid=6027fa76834c511a769ab71c23f64bbc

Extents and Boundaries

Boundary Commission For Scotland, 2013. Maps. Scotland. Accessed April 5, 2015. http://www.bcomm-scotland.independent.gov.uk/maps/

Inverclyde Council, 2013. Greenock Council and Government. Inverclyde, Scotland. Accessed April 5, 2015. http://www.inverclyde.gov.uk/Search/?k=greenock&s=291&catid=291


Fig. One; through Google Images; http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a3/Free_French_Memorial_Greenock.jpg

Fig. Two, Greenock Demographics Statistics;

Assorted reference imagery from; https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/Greenock,+Inverclyde,+UK/@55.9416301,-4.7799435,13z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x4889a54d98f64263:0xe225f63045361dfc

Fig. 2
Fig. 1
Representative Model
600x600mm base
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