THE new design proposals have been revealed for George Square and, I hate to jinx it, they look... good.

John McAslan + Partners released a set of artists' impressions of what the centre of Glasgow could look like after a major redesign of our important civic heart. 

"[Our] proposed reconfiguration aligns with the historic ‘quadrant’ layout of the central space," a spokesman for the firm said, "providing an overlay of new functionality to enhance this great space with a re-energised civility for decades to come".

I think that's architect speak for "it's going to be a belter, with something for everyone" though I'm not sure how a town square can be civil. Minor point, of course.

The designs have been drawn up in response to a public engagement exercise, asking people in the city what they want from George Square.

Previous attempts to revamp the square have met with disaster. First, the atrocious 1990s redesign that ripped up the trees and laid down red asphalt.

Then the ill-fated consultation in 2013 that saw a costly design bid launched, John McAslan + Partners named as the winner and then the plug pulled on the whole process. 

From red asphalt to red neck.

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One of the standout features of the new designs is the amount of greenery.

According to the survey, nearly 90% of people who responded wanted increased numbers of grass, plants and trees in the square and around 80% said they would spend more time there if it was greener.

The suggested new plans make George Square look like a sophisticated park, a much more inviting prospect than it is currently.

We think about Glasgow as being a grey, rainy city much of the year but, as record heat this week shows, the UK is becoming hotter and we need to think forward about dealing with future temperatures as the planet heats up.

Trees form a really important part of dealing with soaring temperatures so it's pleasing to shaded areas for people to sit underneath to shelter from the rain and shelter from the heat.

Trees reduce how warm we feel our surroundings are, which is going to become an increasingly important issue, despite it being hard to contemplate when we keep looking out the window to grey skies.

In recent years the statues have been a contentious part of the George Square landscape and the plans take into account how to respect the history and heritage of the cities statues while acknowledging that they mean different things - or mean nothing - to different people.

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Once more detail emerges about what the plans to relocate the statues to other parts of the square or other parts of the city mean in practice, that will need some careful thought and careful public conversation.

Another interesting development is the design showing full pedestrianisation outside the City Chambers. At the moment the road is closed, thanks to the Spaces For People initiative developed during the pandemic to give more space for active travel, but the new plans show the road is gone.

Instead, there's a fluidity between the Square itself and the Chambers building. This is how it should be: no barriers between the outside of the political hub of the city and the front door - that is, people can just walk right up, exactly as it should be.  

After multiple false starts, it finally feels like Glasgow is being offered a George Square it can be proud of but it's up to residents to take a part in ensuring we're given that.  

There are lots of ways for residents of the city to get involved and give feedback: you can attend drop-in events, view the plans in George Square, and respond to an online survey.  

There's really no excuse not to get involved – George Square belongs to Glasgow and it's up to us to shape how it looks and what it's used for.

Sure, you can moan about hating the design or feeling that the whole enterprise is a waste of money but if you do that, you're only wasting your own time. 

Glasgow Times:

George Square is the centrepiece of Glasgow. It's where people come together to rally and protest; where we meet and socialise; it is the front garden to the City Chambers, where the vital decisions about the city are taken; it's the face of the city for visitors and tourists.

We really have to get this right and it needs as much input as possible to ensure we do. After all, third time's a charm.