In the Autumn of 2022 greenspace scotland worked with Glasgow City Council to explore lighting and safety options within three pilot parks in the city - Cranhill Park, Kelvingrove Park and Queen’s Park.

Glasgow City Council had committed to look into providing sensitive lighting solutions in parks. Alongside safety and lighting concerns, consideration was to be given to both equality and climate impacts. To explore the benefits, issues and implications of lighting in parks, greenspace scotland and Glasgow City Council used a placemaking approach in three pilot parks bringing the community local to each park together.

Online surveys gathered a wealth of information on how people use each park, along with their views on safety and lighting. This information helped shape the workshops and provided the views of people who couldn't attend.

Through October to December 2022 a series of place evaluation workshops took place in each of the parks and included community discussions to inform different approaches to lighting and safety in parks. These workshops included attendees visiting the park at dusk to get a feel for how lighting could impact users of the park at this time, followed by discussion on potential lighting ideas alongside a wider discussion about the potential impact of lighting on the environment and accessibility of the park.

These initial workshops were followed by working group workshops for each of the parks. The main purpose of these workshops was to review and consider the outputs from the place evaluation workshops and the online survey and then carry out a park visioning activity, identifying pros, cons and considerations of the routes and ideas from the workshops.

Over the course of 2023, Glasgow City Council carried out intervention work following feedback and recommendations made from the place evaluation & working group workshops. This included general vegetation management to improve sightlines and feelings of safety within the three pilot parks. Works to improve access at entrances to Cranhill Park were undertaken, as well as removing railings to open up pathways.

In April 2023 a full report with recommendations was presented by Glasgow City Council Officers to the council's Environment and Liveable Neighbourhoods City Policy Committee. Appendices to the report included information on Lighting and Biodiversity and the final report provided by greenspace scotland that outlined the feedback received from the pilot parks workshops and online survey.

Read all the reports Read greenspace scotland report

The council is currently trialling off grid lighting solutions in Queens Park and Kelvingrove Park, which is due to conclude in April/May 24. Other products, such as solar waymarking lights and reflective studs/lining have been installed in both Queens Park and Kelvingrove. 

The Light the Way campaign continues to update stakeholders and the public on their campaign, as well as actions carried out by Glasgow City Council to date.

As this project has developed, interest across other wards in possible safety/lighting solutions has increased. The project is providing the council with a methodology as to how lighting solutions within parks can be approached. This includes community engagement, as well as considerations around biodiversity, technical viability and alternative interventions to improve safety within parks and open spaces. 

The council has recently been approached by the Greater Pollok Area Partnership to review possible lighting solutions within Househill Park, where it is intended to conduct a similar placemaking exercise.

The lighting and safety project has enabled Glasgow City Council to investigate innovations in the way that parks are lit. Glasgow City Council is trialling the use of alternative products to standard park lighting e.g. solar eyes, reflective materials for waymarking purposes, off-grid lighting. The use of analytics in the off-grid solutions has provided real-time data on performance and how the solutions can be managed/maintained throughout the year in a scottish environment to make the most of solar conditions to provide appropriate lighting.

A key success for the project was taking the time to undertake place evaluation and working group workshops with community stakeholders to inform decision making and support for lighting solutions. Additionally ensuring Glasgow’s Area Partnerships were/are involved in decision making around lighting solutions within the parks

The project was not without it’s challenges. One of the key challenges was striking the balance of differing public opinion on the use of lighting within parks and open spaces. Throughout the project Glasgow City Council has endeavoured to ensure all parties’ views are considered.

Trialling new products comes with its own unique challenges in terms of product viability and public perception if the product does not perform to expected standard.

The funding available for any larger scale lighting installations remains challenging. Any funding decisions may be channelled through local Area Partnerships to ensure there is local consensus on investments, whether through Glasgow City Council Capital funds, or Participatory Budgeting funds.

An update report will be presented to Glasgow City Council's Environment and Liveable Neighbourhood Committee in early June. The report will provide an update on committed actions to date and will seek relevant approvals for next steps.