The decline of shipbuilding and related industries has led to social and economic problems including crime, poor health and high levels of youth unemployment. While developing solutions to these complex issues is not within the competence of the CDPI what we are potentially able to do is offer something worthwhile that communities and young people can focus on.
A shipbuilding heritage park at Govan Graving Docks could create employment and volunteering opportunities in areas such as leisure, tourism, skills preservation and urban ecology. Projects to repair and maintain historic ships and/or build replica vessels in a restored dry dock would engage young people from Glasgow in meaningful activity that connects to the industrial history of the area. Looking at a heritage park from a sustainability angle, with aspects of urban ecology, would bridge the history and heritage with the needs of the future.
The opportunity before us at Govan Graving Docks is to create an art, culture and micro-enterprise hub around a heritage theme that could create trading and employment opportunities for up to 250 or more people. The intention of the CDPI is that a heritage park and any other projects we are involved in would adopt a living wage policy. In an area of high unemployment and poverty this would be particularly significant. While a housing development at this site would bring short-term construction jobs a heritage park would create more long-term opportunities.
The way people make a living is going to have to change during this century if we are to adapt to a sustainable approach to resource consumption. New ways of defining work-life balance are going to have to be developed as demand for labour declines (due to automation and other factors) and population increases.
An opportunity for the CDPI, particularly with Govan Graving Docks, is to develop and implement practical approaches to this in a social enterprise / micro-enterprise community model. There is a clear need to move away from conventional approaches of top-down management towards models of collaboration and mutual-empowerment. This needs to be done with an outward looking objective of empowering individuals, small collectives and communities. We are currently in a world where the political agenda is controlled by corporate, globalist interests and increasingly divisive populism and nationalism that are becoming ever farther removed from (and often in direct conflict with) the needs of individuals, communities and the environment. It is primarily through community and collaborative efforts that this will be reversed.