This semester we were set the task with studying Govan, a specific town within Glasgow. We were to look at the physical, social and emotional contexts within Govan and making connections with environmental design and how it can create a project to alter Govan in some way. Some of my preconceived notions of Govan was that it was not someplace you would like to visit within Glasgow, that it was more residential, and “don’t go there at night or by yourself,” so needless to say it does not have the best word of mouth reputation.
Going to Govan for the first time was an interesting experience. Immediately some of the ideas about Govan had washed away and other thoughts came to mind. I thought I would see more people because it was a residential area, or more parks and places to visit. I no longer thought that Govan deserves the reputation that it has, it may not be as friendly as the West End, but it is not as scary as people lead me to believe.
My overall impression backed up my initial research; Govan was very disconnected in place and in spirit from the rest of Glasgow. At a point in history Govan really thrived the remnants of this can be found in the architecture and it’s feeling of grandeur. Talking with the community, the local knowledge of Govans’ past is a point of pride that everyone has. It seems that even though today Govan may feel a bit run down, no one has forgotten what this place once was. What I started to observed is that there was no element connecting the people of Govan, that is was disconnected and there was no place, event, or even story to carry on who Govan was to the community.
Working within a group we choose to create a flag for Govan because we felt that it would be the most concise way of combining the need for a new identity and to address the pride of the past that Govan has for itself. To the community, a flag could be a symbol for everyone, past, present, and future. It would be able to provide an symbol of pride for the residents and workers in Govan, and a reason for the rest of Glasgow to view Govan with a new set of eyes. The flag encompasses many of the ideals we found out through desk based research and what we discovered through observation.
With the design of the flag we would also incorporate a QR code campaign, where we would hide small sticker flags in places around Govan and when you scanned or texted the code you would learn a fact about Govan. This would create awareness about the flag, but also make it interactive.
As Design Innovation students our methodologies were very helpful and we found out the most important insights by showing up a few times and asking questions. Our methods for talking to people were rather unstructured, very transient ‘hallway’ interviews. They evolved over the course of about three weeks where we were able to create some relationships. We got our beginning insights about what was most important to be part of a Govan flag, and then we each created a few flags within ourselves to be ‘voted’ on by the locals.
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