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My town, the New Town

West of Scotland Chapter Event

Wednesday, 06 September 2017 at 6:00PM
The Corinthian Club, 191 Ingram St, Glasgow G1 1DA
RTPI Scotland

In its seventy year history Cumbernauld has been celebrated, neglected, and reviled – in that order. Despite being an ambitious multi-award winning 1960s set piece of post-war architecture and planning, by the early 1990s Cumbernauld had acquired a notorious reputation as one of Scotland’s most reviled products of that era.

The real story of Cumbernauld is much more complex than the ‘failed Utopia’ narrative pedalled by much of the media and ‘experts’. Many who grew in Cumbernauld (and other new towns) have gone on to become professionals working in the built environment; many have become planners and architects.

Diane Watters grew up in Cumbernauld and has researched the history of the town. She is an architectural historian and lecturer at Edinburgh University and does not recognise these so-called ‘popular’ condemnations.

Michael Kordas, the current RTPI West of Scotland’s Vice Convenor also grew up in Cumbernauld and has undertaken research on the town. He will introduce the evening and outline Cumbernauld's first 10 years up to 1967 with particular interest in the ways in which the original planning strategy was different in the 'Mark 2' new town than might be expected.

This is a free event.


Diane M Watters is an architectural historian. A specialist in nineteenth and twentieth century architecture and conservation in Scotland, she has recently authored St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross: Birth Death and Renewal (HES, 2016), and co-authored a guide to Cumbernauld (with Miles Glendinning) as part of Buildings of Scotland architectural guidebook series to Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire (Yale University Press, 2016). She teaches at the University of Edinburgh.