Some wouldn’t use the word “beautiful”, but I would. Below me is a long grey stretch of concrete. Behind is the bleakness of the moors. And ahead is one of my favourite views of my favourite city. There it is: house, hill, and high-rise, and as usual it’s the high-rises that catch my eye. All cities spread out, but the greatest cities head upwards.

I realise, before you point it out, that I’m in danger of romanticising this great view of Glasgow you get from the M77. I also realise that it’s especially dangerous to romanticise high-rise buildings when you’ve never lived in one. But as the skyline of Glasgow has changed in recent years – in good ways and bad – it’s often struck me that we’re not necessarily getting our attitudes to high-rises right.

Take the Wyndford flats in Maryhill for example. You may have read that the housing association that owns the flats wants to pull them down and that they informed the residents last year that the buildings had been earmarked for demolition. You may also have read last week that a leading architect has said: hang on a minute though, are we doing the right thing here? It raises some interesting questions, and the distinct possibility that we keep on making the same mistakes.

The association’s rationale appears to be the same one that led to the demolition of the slums in the 60s followed 40 years later by the demolition of the buildings that replaced them. The flats are in a poor state, they say. A lot of the residents don’t like them. And we could do things better by putting up new buildings (before demolishing them as well in another 40 years, presumably).

In some ways, I understand where Glasgow Housing Association is coming from. A lot of people do not want to live in the high-rises. The promise of 300 new energy-efficient homes is also pretty easy to sell. And for a long time the pre-dominant theory with buildings of this kind has been to roll out the gelignite and detonators. It’s how a lot of urban planning, particularly in Glasgow, has been done in the last few decades.

But the problems are obvious I would have thought. Firstly, are the residents properly involved? There has been a consultation with them, but it appeared to be along the lines of many such consultations i.e. “here’s what’s going to happen, in what ways do you agree?” It’s also clear that there are lots of residents who like living in the Wyndford flats, albeit they would like to see them improved and better maintained.

Secondly, has the option of keeping the flats and improving them been properly considered? I’m just back from a few days in Liverpool and while I was in the Toxteth part of the city, I happened to get talking to some people about the high-rise on the edge of Sefton Park. You will be familiar, of course, with the echoes from the word Toxteth: it’s where the riots happened in the 80s and there was a time when the high-rise near the park was a place to live only if you wanted easy access to drugs, crime and trouble. To that extent, it lived up to every cliché.

But now, it’s different. There’s still deprivation in Toxteth and the surrounding areas – in some cases extreme deprivation. But the area has also become much more mixed. There’s been regeneration and as part of that – instead of pulling it down – the high-rise has been renovated and has become a transformed and affordable place to live. The flats tower over the trees at the edge of the park and I love it.

Obviously, there are potential pitfalls. For a start, Toxteth has started appearing in those annoying Sunday magazine articles about desirable places to live. The Liverpudlians I spoke to also said the familiar effect had already started: people in beards flecked with quinoa moving in, people who’ve lived there all their lives being forced to move out. They call it gentrification but really it’s just the middle pushing out the bottom.

Similar risks exist in Maryhill, however you proceed. Pull the Wyndford flats down and you get what one of the residents, a Buddhist monk called Greum, says is (to put it generously) gentrification or (to put it realistically) social cleansing. Keep the flats on the other hand and do them up and something similar could happen if, like Liverpool, people spot an affordable way to live in a really nice area (the Wyndford flats are right on the River Kelvin on the edge of the West End remember).

It's also odd that the housing association should be trumpeting the energy-efficient homes that would replace the Wyndford flats while ignoring the environmental destruction and waste that would happen in the event of their demolition. Surely it’s better to improve and retro-fit what’s there rather than reduce everything to rubble and dust and start all over again?

This was one of the points the architect Alan Dunlop was making last week when he launched a defence of the Wyndford flats and it’s a pretty compelling argument. Retrofitting, he said, would be the more climate-friendly option for a city that hosted the Cop26 convention but he also pointed out that Glasgow has already knocked down close to half of its tower blocks and perhaps now would be a good time to change its attitude.

I personally thought the attitude had started to change with the Red Road flats debacle of 2014. Do you remember? Some numpty with a PR qualification thought it’d be a great idea to blow up one of the blocks as part of the Commonwealth Games celebrations. It was then pointed out that the flats had been people’s homes and that other blocks were still being lived in and that blowing up what had been a community for a public-relations wheeze was a terrible and thoughtless idea, which it was and so thankfully the idea was dropped.

However, I fear some of the same attitudes persist over Wyndford: the building’s rubbish, ka-boom, problem solved. Not only is that simplistic, it misses the other option, the one that says the best communities are ones made up of different kinds of buildings and different kinds of people. So try this the next time you’re driving into Glasgow on the M77: try looking at the houses and the hills and the high-rises and asking: it’s all part of the city – how can we make it work better?

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