Toward a New Future for Glasgow’s Industrial Relics

“People would rather go hungry than suffer the indignity of going to a food bank”

Food insecurity is the inability to acquire or consume an adequate quality or sufficient quantity of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so.

The following map depicts an analysis of food banks and other formally set up establishments which enable Glasgow’s deprived population access to free food and hot meals in the Gorbals/Glasgow East.

Around 60% of Glasgow is considered to be obese or overweight, while many face food insecurity issues. There are currently 109 formally established food banks/ places for free hot meals in Glasgow – which continue to increase.  This suggests a number of socio-economic factors influence food habits and accessibility in the city.  In a 2018 survey across Glasgow, 10.8% of respondents had experienced food insecurity, and 4.6% had experienced severe food insecurity. Food insecurity was determined by asking respondents whether they eaten less than they thought they should, or less healthily, because of a lack of money or resources.

In this map, the Scottish index of multiple deprivation has been utilized (red being most deprived, blue being least deprived) to visualize a connection between the three primary factors resulting in food deprivation: low income, benefit delays, and benefit changes.  The white circles then mark the presence of food banks.  The map highlights these access points following the partially derelict City Union railway line (highlighted as a white line).  This was previously a key link in Glasgow’s industrial rail network and a major component of the former St Enoch station.  The dashed white lines indicate where this rail line re-emerges as an active passenger line.

Looking toward increasing the social value of food in the City and how Glasgow can increase dignity within deprived populations accessing food banks – could post industrial relics such as the City Union railway itself serve as a site for growing food in the city?  Could these relics be indicative of a new sustainable future which de-stigmatizes food and celebrates sharing?


Key Themes: Boundaries, Inequality