Climate Ready Clyde
Risk and Opportunity

Built Environment

Built Environment


The built environment shapes the way we live and work in the Glasgow City Region. It encompasses where we live and where we do business. It embodies our past, whether that be from significant events, or individuals such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who have shaped the city region we see today. The built environment is also shaped by the local climate conditions, and must be resilient to projected changes and impacts expected over the next decades. 

Our buildings are a wide mix of types and ages, including a significant number of traditional buildings constructed before 1919. The city region will continue constructing new building stock to meet the needs of individuals and businesses, but most of the buildings that will make up the built environment in 2050 and even 2080 already exist today. Retrofitting existing building stock and planning urban areas and developments with both current and future climate impacts in mind will ensure that our homes and wider urban environment are safe, comfortable and resilient to climate change. 

Key climate related risks and opportunities 

Climate change will affect the City Region’s built environment by: 

  • Increasing risk to homes as a result of flooding and sea level rise. Many homes are at risk of surface water, river or coastal flooding, with a sea level rise increasing the risk to a small number of homes into the 2080s. There are also a number of development sites earmarked for housing which have been highlighted as being at risk of a 1 in 200-year flood event, accounting for climate change), and the City Region needs to continue to improve actions to manage this future risk.

  • Damaging building fabric and increasing maintenance due to more frequent and severe exposure to the elements such as wind, moisture and driving rain. Such hazards can increase damp and mould, whilst flooding can deposit salts and sediments. There may also be an increased demand to cool buildings in higher temperatures and heat waves and additional ventilation to adequately remove moisture produced inside a building. This may require retrofitting of older buildings.

  • Increasing the challenges of maintaining cultural heritage - Many properties of architectural or historic merit (including properties cared for by Historic Environment Scotland) are particularly vulnerable to natural hazards, due to their locations on coasts or rivers and current state of repair. Wider cultural heritage may also be affected, with scheduled ancient monuments exposed to flooding.

  • Increasing maintenance requirements for green spaces, both directly in terms of increased vegetation growth and species resilience and indirectly through the projected increased use of green space by people.

  • Creating opportunities to support wider ambitions around reduced fuel poverty, increased uptake of renewables and food growing. 


Use our interactive index to navigate to relevant information based on particular climate hazards, risks, sectors, and actions.


Next steps to creating a climate resilient built environment

  • Continue to act to reduce risks to homes from flooding, as well as to significant buildings of significant cultural heritage, such as Newark Castle and Dumbarton Castle.

  • Build understanding and capacity about the extent to which domestic and non-domestic buildings are resilient to current and future temperatures, storms, wind, moisture and driving rain.

  • Better understand the potential scale of overheating in current and new buildings to inform new build and retrofit activity, with a focus on ensuring that vulnerable groups such as the elderly and children have access to safe housing. We also need early action to raise awareness of potential future cooling requirements and alternative approaches to minimise future demand and maladaptation.

  • Build understanding of how green space and infrastructure can deliver climate benefits in urban areas, supported by Green Network Strategic Delivery areas, and how a changing climate will affect its management.

  • Build understanding of the opportunities and challenges a changing climate may bring for increasing viability of projects in renewable energy sector, and incorporating into the Energy Strategy and Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies.

  • Review how the various Glasgow City Region plans and strategies that relate to the built environment, as well as national plans applied locally address future climate projections.