A PROFESSOR at Glasgow School of Art is to be unveiled today as the city's first official Urbanist - a senior advisory position in which he will hope to improve the city's strategic urban planning.

Professor Brian Evans, an expert in urbanism and landscape at the GSA as well as an advisor to the United Nations, is to work with councillors, council officers, designers, and other institutions and agencies involved in the city's urban planning.

Professor Evans said he would not be intervening in every planning decision or architectural controversy in the city, but will be taking a overview of how the city moves as a whole from being a "post industrial" city to a "knowledge city."

Major issues in the city, including the quality of, and use of, green space, the use and development of the river Clyde, and the impact of having a major motorway cutting through its heart, will be assessed by the Professor as part of his role.

He also hopes to establish a city Place Commission, a forum where the future of the city's landscape, buildings, businesses and infrastructure can be discussed.

Climate change, demographic and technological change will all have huge impacts on how Glasgow develops in the next 50 years, he said, and have to be factored into city strategies.

He said: "Glasgow, I think, is very well aware of this transition it is going through, and it is seeking to move that transition to the next stage.

"If we look back, you can see this clearly in Glasgow that it changed in groups of two decades: in the 1960s and 70s where sometimes not-always-wise, in retrospect, decisions were made from a planning point of view - one of the inherited things is 'let's put a motorway through the centre of the city.'

"The next set of decades was a change of direction in the 1980s and 90s, where the city started to find a way to face up to these issues.

"That led on to the establishment of the international financial services district in the city, and you have had branding campaigns with Glasgow's Miles Better, latterly People Make Glasgow, which have resonated.

"And now, my proposition is that Glasgow has been the post-industrial city, and now it is a proto-knowledge city'

"There are still inherited things, though, to deal with."

Professor Evans' work will affect how the city looks at housing, business, environment, transport and "place making".

Professor Evans is a graduate of both of Glasgow’s architecture schools, at Glasgow School of Art and the University of Strathclyde.

He added, as well as its physical attributes, Glasgow has its people: "ebullient, chatty, funny, quick, keen: that's a huge asset, and the canvass we are working with.

"The transition to go where Glasgow was in the 1960s, to the 2060s, it takes about that time [100 years].

"But with a following wind, without too many external factors, there's just a chance in the next 20 years we can get over the tipping point.

"We know there's a legacy: we know there is vacant and derelict land, we known there are health inequalities....it is about dealing with the legacy issues, but not been driven by them."

His career has included working for Gillespies, an international landscape architecture and urban design practice, and played a leading role in the Glasgow Garden Festival (1988), the Glasgow Public Realm Strategy, 1995 and the Buchanan Street Project in 2001.

He led the team that worked in Grainger Town in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and St Andrew Square in Edinburgh.

He also has experience working on city strategies for Moscow, the River Moscow and Suzhou in China, and he is an advisor to the United Nations.

Professor Evans was founding Deputy Chair of Architecture and Design Scotland and a founder and director of the Academy of Urbanism, London.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "I am very pleased that Professor Brian Evans has agreed to take on the challenge of the new role of City Urbanist.

"He will make a great addition to the team as we take forward the next stage in the history of this great city.

“Brian brings into the council a great understanding of our city formed over years in the private sector and a distinguished career in the academic sector and in promoting best practice in urban development and place making for the Scottish and UK Governments and internationally.

“There are great designers and planners working in Glasgow across the public and private sectors.

"The City Government is committed to working with them to make Glasgow the best place it can be. We see this being delivered through a consistent and long-term commitment to place-making and best use of the city’s assets."

Professor Evans added: “It is characteristic of Glasgow to look forward and think creatively about the ways the city works for people.

"We should think about the design of Glasgow as an international city, a metropolitan city and, most importantly, as the everyday city of residents, businesses and visitors and I’m honoured to be asked to play a role and to take a strategic view on place, design and the city."