Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy: final evaluation report April 2018

This evaluation report of the Commonwealth Games 2014 legacy summarises previous findings and sets out new findings since the last report in 2015.

Chapter 4: The Impact of the Games on the Lives of the Community in Glasgow's East End

The evidence from previous major events

International evidence suggests that major sporting events can leave long term legacies in terms of regeneration. In particular they can help speed up and extend regeneration plans and, thereby, act as catalysts for accelerated socio-economic development where large capital investments are made. However, it is now well understood that these need to be linked to a city or region's wider plans, rather than be delivered as stand-alone initiatives and they need to engage communities in the regeneration process.

Two key potential problems around event led regeneration are commonly cited; firstly the development of infrastructure that is too focussed on the Games time period alone and, secondly, the widespread or large scale displacement of local populations. However, the use of vacant and derelict land and remediation of contaminated land commonly provides a way of minimising the negative impact. Rather than forcing existing communities to relocate, using land that is disused can instead positively develop the local physical environment and re-populate areas.

Glasgow 2014 approach

Scotland's largest regeneration programme, Clyde Gateway URC was launched six weeks after the Games were awarded, in part to help drive forward the bid commitment that the Games would be a catalyst for regeneration in the East End of Glasgow. This is the area where much of the Games-related investment has taken place. Clyde Gateway is delivering a regeneration programme across their area that is expected to continue until 2027. From the outset Clyde Gateway and partners were committed to a more holistic regeneration approach, beyond improving physical assets, to achieve physical, economic and social regeneration. The investments range from roads and infrastructure, business and office space, community buildings and assets, housing developments to employability and community programmes.

GCC also led on a programme of major capital projects for the venues and the Athletes' Village. Venues newly built or refurbished in the East End of Glasgow include the Emirates Arena, the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, the Hockey Centre and Tollcross International Swimming Centre. Further, transport improvements involved around £1 billion of Games-related road and rail transport infrastructure projects. In the East End, these include the M74 extension which was completed in June 2011, on time and under budget, and a refurbishment of Dalmarnock Railway Station.

At the outset it was recognised that new research would need to be undertaken to understand the impact of the Games on residents of Glasgow's East End. The aforementioned ' GoWell: Studying Change in Glasgow's East End' project was established in 2011, allied to the existing GoWell programme, and aimed to assess the impacts of the Games and associated regeneration activity upon the health and wellbeing of the host communities in the East End of Glasgow. The GoWell East programme has also produced a number of reports and papers. A brief overview of the key findings is set out here, but these can be downloaded in full at

It is difficult to disentangle completely what can be attributed to Glasgow 2014 investment and legacy, and what is the product of the wider regeneration programme. However, a number of investments and programmes were complete in advance, or shortly after, the Games and explicitly designed or phased to support Glasgow 2014. [27] Additional funding provided to Clyde Gateway between 2012 and 2014 helped ensure that these Games-related projects were completed. In addition, by 2015, approximately 40 legacy programmes were active in the area. These varied widely in their objectives including improving sport facilities, sports club development, coaching and volunteering programmes, improving the physical environment, active travel, employability and work.

Key findings from Glasgow 2014

New research suggests that significant further progress on the Clyde Gateway programme is evident post-Games. What Works Scotland undertook a case study on Clyde Gateway at the mid-point of the 20 year programme. [28] This research sets out a description of activity and assessment of progress. The authors conclude that strong progress has already been made and the effectiveness of the approach can be attributed to a number of features including:

  • A long term commitment to a holistic transformation of the Clyde Gateway area
  • Substantial levels of public and private investment (approaching £1 billion).
  • Early wins to build momentum and overcome early scepticism
  • Clear leadership (by Clyde Gateway URC), driven by a small and committed team.
  • First class partnership working by the Clyde Gateway team who actively seek to work collaboratively with partner organisations and the Clyde Gateway's communities.

Key performance measures for Clyde Gateway are being monitored over a twenty year period. Between April 2012 and March 2017: [29]

  • 239 hectares of derelict and contaminated land had been remediated, 63,664 square metres of Business Floor Space was completed and 2,456 residential units had been constructed.
  • 5,106 new jobs had been brought to the area, of which 1,103 (22%) were filled by local people, 1,940 had participated in employability programmes and 980 businesses had been supported.
  • 4,665 people had participated in Clyde Gateway community engagement events and 136,990 had participated in additional learning/health/sports capacity building.

The most recent survey findings from the GoWell East Study lend further support to the success of regeneration efforts. As set out above, the full findings of the survey work can be found at, but key findings in regard to physical regeneration include:

  • An increase in neighbourhood satisfaction, with over four fifths (83%) of GoWell East respondents either very or fairly satisfied with their neighbourhood in 2016. This is an increase of 13%, from 70% in 2012.
  • The number of participants who felt they could influence decisions affecting their local area increased from 37% in 2012 to 45% in 2016. This is nearly twice the national rate.
  • The number of participants who said that they felt safe walking in their neighbourhood after dark increased from 52% in 2012 to 72% in 2016. The latter is higher than the rate for Glasgow (67%) and very close to the national figure (74%).
  • Neighbourhood environmental quality is seen by residents to have improved over time with the number of people rating local parks and green spaces as good increased from 75% to 80%.
  • The identification of environment-related neighbourhood problems has reduced over time. For example, the number of people identifying vacant and derelict land as problematic has fallen from 54% to 27%; rubbish and litter lying around has fallen from 79% to 64%; and vandalism, graffiti and property damage has fallen from 79% to 41%.

However, standards of environmental care, cleanliness and maintenance remain problematic for the area and are a concern for the future. In 2016, nearly two thirds of people still reported rubbish or litter lying around as a slight (41%) or serious problem (23%). Overall, local environmental problems such as street litter and property damage remain much more commonly identified in the study area than in other similar areas (64% compared to 45% in the case of litter; 41% compared to 19% in the case of vandalism).

Another important aspect of the regeneration effort was the development of the former Athletes' Village to achieve a mixed community and to provide high quality housing for local people. As part of the GoWell East programme a survey of 310 residents in the former Athletes' Village was conducted to assess whether that aspiration is being met from the residents' perspective. [30] The full report is available on the GoWell East website [31] , but of particular note is that:

  • 58% of s ocial renters came from a location in the East End of Glasgow, with 28% of all social renters having a prior connection to the immediate area of Dalmarnock.
  • In contrast, a quarter of owners (24%) came from the East End, with 13% having a prior connection to Dalmarnock.
  • Levels of dwelling satisfaction are very high at 97% of social renters and 98% owners either very satisfied or satisfied.
  • Levels of neighbourhood satisfaction among Village residents are also very high, with 90% of social renters and 96% of owners either very satisfied or satisfied.
  • The vast majority of residents considered the environment to be quiet and attractive (89% of social renters and 95% of owners).

Most residents rated their Athletes' Village dwellings very positively and derive benefits such as feelings of control and personal progress from their homes. The predominant view among both owners and social renters is that the Village is a harmonious place where people from different backgrounds get on well together. The survey showed that both owners and renters used local sports facilities and libraries; however owners were more frequent users of both.

This research and further qualitative work [32] suggests that the long term sustainability of the Village look promising. Residents had few or no regrets about moving to the Village, many would recommend it to their friends and family and most respondents said they wanted to stay in the long term, although sometimes this was conditional on their concerns being addressed.

For social renters, future hopes and expectations were around the area being good for families, free from antisocial behaviour, safe and clean. For owners, continued investment in the area's amenities and maintenance was important, as was the ability to live in the area longer-term.

Among social renters, the main concern for the future was a potential rise in antisocial behaviour among children and young people. Among owners, the main concern for the future was that the regeneration would stall, leaving the Village development isolated. Shops, or a lack thereof, were identified as the most problematic local amenity. Children's play areas were also commonly cited as poor in the case of social renters and social amenities like cafes and pubs in the case of owners.

A separate small scale qualitative study with 20 long-standing Dalmarnock residents [33] gathered some perceptions of neighbourhood changes in the host community two years on from the Games.


  • There was general agreement that Dalmarnock has been transformed physically in the past decade, with physical changes largely attributed to Glasgow 2014.
  • However, long-term residents, who had lived through a period of disruption, felt that their experiences and hardships have not been adequately acknowledged by city leaders and there was a general perception that momentum has been lost since the Games.
  • While the major housing development of the Athletes' Village was seen as successful in accelerating the re-population of Dalmarnock, the development is seen to place considerable pressure on local services and there was some sense of a social disconnection between the village and the rest of Dalmarnock. This will need continued monitoring in the medium to long term.

Key lessons and developments

Long-term investment in regeneration that harnessed the opportunity of a major event shows clear signs of success in Glasgow and a number of conditions needed to be in place to make that happen. These included a long-term financial commitment, sustained levels of public and private investment, high quality leadership and high levels of collaboration between partner organisations and the community. The results on community engagement in the GoWell East Study are particularly interesting, sitting at twice the national average by 2016. There appear to have been major gains for local residents in terms of feelings of local empowerment, which are not only good for the reputation and future prospects for the area, but also for wellbeing.

There are substantial and welcome improvements in many housing and regeneration outcomes in the GoWell East study area including on satisfaction with neighbourhoods, pride in the local area, employment rates and the perceived prospects for a sustainable future. However, there are less encouraging results on volunteering, physical activity and cultural engagement (see chapters 5 and 7). While some of these results may be partly due to methodological factors, they nonetheless raise the question about the extent to which event-led regeneration, or indeed any regeneration programme, can realistically be expected to change some behaviours fundamentally, particularly given recent experiences of welfare reform and the relatively poor health of those living in the area. In a long term analysis of outcomes across housing and regeneration areas in Glasgow as part of the wider GoWell programme, health outcomes showed least improvement over time. [34]

Overall the development of the former Athletes' Village appears to have achieved a mixed community, with high quality housing for local people in a sustainable environment. Those living in the former Athletes' Village are very positive about their experience of living there. Nonetheless, some evidence suggests there may be some differences and perceived tensions between the older and newer communities in the area. Ensuring that all residents can see and feel the benefits of regeneration and the effort continuing in the years post-Games will be critical

The long term development of the area continues through the work of Clyde Gateway and partners. [35] Recent and new developments in the immediate vicinity include two new parks, Cuningar and Camlachie, two new business parks, a range of office developments, a new care home, the Legacy Hub as well as the other mixed tenure housing developments in the area. The pedestrian and cycle-bridge spanning the River Clyde between the new neighbourhood at the former Athletes' Village in Dalmarnock and the Cuningar Loop in South Lanarkshire allows residents and visitors to access a wide range of activities in the park including play areas, bouldering, bike tracks and boardwalk areas. Further, the national government's focus on inclusive economic growth has produced a synergy between national policy and Clyde Gateway's approach, with access to good jobs as one of the top priorities of local people. This has provided some further momentum to ensure barriers are lowered, people and land enter into the economy, tax receipts are generated and public expenditure is reduced.

Glasgow City Council has gained much experience from the City Council's management of the delivery of the Athletes' Village development. [36] The Council's Canal and North Project Team, which includes the Sighthill housing development, cites numerous examples where the Team has learned lessons from the experience of the Athletes' Village development. The leadership and continual engagement with a wide variety of partners including the Organising Committee, Social Work Services, the private sector housing consortia – City Legacy – and numerous Registered Social Landlords was cited as a key success factor in the case of the Athletes' Village.


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