Friday, 27 July 2012

Guest post: What can Fremantle learn from Glasgow?

Jon Strachan is the author of this post. Jon is a City of Fremantle Councillor and also has his own blog. To view Jon's blog click here. After hearing about Jon's recent visit to Glasgow, I asked if he would write a guest post for Freo Doctor blog readers. Thanks Jon!

There are many similarities between Fremantle and Glasgow, so much so that a South Fremantle friend hailing from Glasgow suggested we should approach them to become our next sister city.  The crucial difference is of course that Glasgow is a city in its own right, with its own suburbs, whilst Fremantle is a suburb of greater Perth.

I have visited Glasgow three times in my life, once as youngster in the late 1960’s with some older mates who had a car.  I have vague memories of haggis floaters from a café de wheels and some pretty desperate people.

Later in the early 1970’s while serving an apprenticeship at Fylingdales Early Warning station, I lived in the Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough. I still have vivid memories of the influx of Glaswegians during their factory fortnight.  One night, a bunch of Glaswegian youths surrounded me in a pub and explained that the girl I was talking to was going with them. When I protested knives were produced!  This experience just went to reinforce my view that the place was full of desperate people.

In the summer of 2006 I returned with my brother and our partners, staying in Byres Road, the Fremantle end of town.  What a revelation - cafes, bars, provedores and quirky shops in laneways.  I felt at home instantly.  The time of neglect was well over and the old buildings were looking fantastic.  Like Fremantle the period of neglect had allowed the built heritage to remain. These wonderful buildings are now in high demand.  We loved the place.

When I had an opportunity to return earlier this year I eagerly took it up. This time, I visited Glasgow with a local and got to see the things I would have missed as a tourist.

So back to the question, what can Fremantle learn from Glasgow? My list is short, simple and very important.

1. Have enough people living in the city centre to create vibrancy and passive surveillance.  Relying on visitors to provide vibrancy is doomed to failure, a city needs a core community to give the place definition and confidence.

2. Control alcohol fuelled antisocial behaviour. This is done through regulation, policing and community peer group advocacy.

3. Have restaurants open late at night. In Glasgow, booking a table after 9pm is the norm, not the exception.

4. Celebrate your heritage as something special. Glaswegians are extremely proud of their history and the people who made it.

5. Value heritage buildings. There are some stunning tenement terraces in central Glasgow that now command far more rent as office space than new buildings. New builds adjacent to older buildings respect and take their cues from their seniors.

6. Value your parks.  Wherever you are in Glasgow you are never far away from a park.

7. Lastly, live life to the fullest.

If you get a chance go and stay in Glasgow preferably in summer! If not, enjoy Fremantle.

New Glasgow. Source: Jon Strachan.
Lots of people living and working in Glasgow helps to create vibrancy and passive surveillance.
Source: Jon Strachan
Interesting shop displays in Glasgow. Source: Jon Strachan
Old school Glasgow. Source: Jon Strachan

Jon Strachan (

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jon.

    How can Fremantle address alcohol related mischief?