Glasgow faces the task of having to “piece the city back together again”.

In our Glasgow Times Investigates series, we have reported how dozens more properties are to be added to the Buildings At Risk register.

Today, we speak to Niall Murphy, director of Glasgow City Heritage Trust, about why so many landmarks have fallen into disrepair and what is needed to save and repurpose as many as possible.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

READ NEXT: The story of Glasgow's built heritage that's been left to rot

READ NEXT:More Glasgow buildings to be added to At Risk register

The root of the problem can be traced to decisions taken more than 50 years ago, with repercussions still felt today.

Mr Murphy explains the historical context, with de-investment leading to population flight and an economic downturn in the latter part of the 20th century and what we are witnessing now is fall out from that.

He said: “We had an incredibly dense city followed by depopulation. People moved to new towns, which was incentivised by the Scottish Office.

“Killing off the industrial base damaged the economy. We are dealing with that legacy. As economic activity declines, population declines and land values decline.”

A number of the city centre properties are old factory or warehouse properties and the industries they once served are no longer dominant.

Also, the office accommodation some of these buildings once provided no longer meets the needs of a modern business.

However, all is not lost and the transformation of the city centre doesn’t need to mean demolition.

READ NEXT: Gum factory to police HQ: City buildings left derelict for decades

He lists off the top of his head a number of properties saved and restored, brought back into meaningful use.

The corner of North Frederick Street and George Street, just a darts throw away from the City Chambers is a venue, what is now Flight Club.

On Trongate and King Street, in a stretch where derelict buildings are commonplace, a restoration into offices and eventually plans for flats, once some practicalities with services are ironed out.

Glasgow Times:

Glasford Street at Wilson Street recently taken over by House of Gods is another “good sign”.

A push to increase city centre living using the upper floors of empty buildings is underway as Glasgow seeks to transform the city centre.

READ NEXT: The real reason why Glasgow's Sauchiehall Street is being dug up

This is not new, however, and what is happening now can be compared with events in the 1980s in places like Merchant City.

Then old commercial premises were repurposed and became stylish urban living with warehouses and the like turned into flats.

“We need to get that momentum back” he says “and do what people did in the 1980s moving back into warehouse conversions.”

There are many properties in the city centre with the upper floors empty, ripe for conversion without resorting to the bulldozer and rebuilding.

Issues as mundane but essential like how bins are stored and collected need to be resolved for some though.

Outside the city centre, here are other examples the Mission Hall in Nithsdale Road in Pollokshields, The British Linen Bank building in Gorbals and another property at Hunter Street in the East End all give cause for optimism.

Mr Murphy maintains: “It is easy to adapt to other uses.” But recognises: “We have to look holistically. We need to look at amenities like health and schools.

“We need to find resources for that when budgets are constrained by austerity.”

He is of the opinion, however, that there is a huge prize in doing so.

“Glasgow city centre”, he adds “should be a dynamo of the Scottish economy.”

While others see streets in decline, building fabric decaying and social problems displayed on the streets, he sees opportunity.

Glasgow Times:

“Union Street is a real challenge” he said “but can be turned into a proper street, with young people living there.”

The shift to electric buses will create cleaner air and be a catalyst to transform one of the city's famous streets.

Mr Murphy, while lamenting the loss of many architecturally important structures, and worried about the future of many left to decay, remains optimistic.

Buoyed by success in saving properties seemingly destined to be next in line for the bulldozer he can see the potential and is striving to ensure it is matched by the will of planners.

Ultimately it is the responsibility of the owners of these properties and that, he says, can be a problem.

The value of the city centre to not only Glasgow but Scotland must be recognised he argues.

He said: “It is a national problem, of course it is. It’s Scotland’s biggest city.”

If Glasgow city centre can be made an attractive place it will, he states, provide “a significant economic uplift”.

He said: “We cannot let it go to rot.”