I’ve lived in and around Glasgow for more than 30 years now – way more than I ever lived in my home town of Aberdeen – but when I asked a friend the other day if I’d ever be Glaswegian, he said: never! He’s wrong of course. I’m Glaswegian already because all my most important memories, all the replays I do in my head, they all happen in Glasgow buildings.

Buildings like The Barrowland ballroom, the Barras. February 3, 1995. Belly full of lager, head full of songs. Morrissey’s on stage. I’m at the front belting out the lyrics: now my heart is full and I just can't explain so I won't even try to. The Barras is the perfect building for Glasgow really: raucous, loud, friendly, worn but wonderful. May the neon shine forever.

I realise this is a bit mawkish really, and nostalgic, but buildings do that to you don’t they? Some we take for granted, some drag us down, but the ones we care about we care about dearly even though we may only know their surface. It’s why Doors Open Day is so popular in Glasgow. You get inside. It’s like finding out secrets about the ones you love.

So, if you’ll indulge me for a bit, here are my recommendations for Open Doors, the Barras being one of them. They’re personal choices of course because I’ve been in the buildings and care about them, but I also think they reveal something about what we’re doing right on preservation and renovation in Glasgow and what we’re doing wrong. The architecture is speaking to us; so listen.

Number one: the Springburn Auditorium. I’ve written a lot about how neglected Springburn Park is compared to some of our other great parks, but the auditorium is one of the signs of hope. Check out the seats. They’re made from pianos. Speak to the volunteers. They’re amazing. And when you’re done in the building, spend the day in the park. There’s no need to go home just yet.

Number two: the Panopticon, Glasgow’s oldest music hall, cracked, worn, beautiful. I’ve seen Fritz Lang’s Metropolis in here. I’ve seen the drag queen Harlow doing Eartha Kitt in here: I'll be having pheasant while you're dining with the peasants. But as usual the building is top of the bill. Will it ever be properly restored? I worry.

Number three: Maryhill Burgh Halls, a building which I didn’t know very well until recently when I was given a tour by the architect who led the renovation, Hunter Reid. My favourite bit? The stained glass windows portraying the trades of the men and women who lived in Maryhill, but don’t forget the gates at the front: firemen made from iron. This building could have been lost, you know.

Obviously, there are others on the Open Doors list that are worth seeing; these are just my choices. Some are in a poor way (like the Panopticon), some have been saved (like Maryhill), but all of them reveal what we need to be doing to protect and preserve them and one of the things that strikes me is that it’s often the buildings in working class communities that are the most neglected even though they’re the most needed. That needs reversing for a start.

We also need a plan. I recently spoke to Graeme Smith, a planner who’s written a superb book about the Blythswood area of Glasgow, which has its fair share of neglected buildings. Mr Smith’s take is that you protect and revive buildings by focusing and defining areas in the way Merchant City was. “The council needs to start with a plan,” he said, “but there's been no great leadership there at all for many years.”

The other thing we need, I’m afraid, is money, which means a much more active co-operation between private and public, commercial and council. One of the lessons I took away from Maryhill Burgh Halls is you can’t just renovate a building and leave it; you need a business plan and a way to earn money.

You also need to ask difficult questions about where the money comes from. Glasgow City Council is fond of boasting that most of its museums and galleries are free but maybe, at last, it’s realising that’s not sustainable. The talk now is about charging “non-Glaswegians” (where does that leave me I wonder?) But wouldn’t it be better to just charge the people who can afford it? For all our sakes? For the sake of the buildings?