A survey found that people living in Glasgow have low happiness levels relative to most of the UK. Views Columnist Ellie writes about why she loves the city, regardless.
I love Glasgow. I grew up in a small village in the Surrey Hills with a corner shop that shut at 2pm. The most exciting thing to do in my village was to get the number 42 bus (that runs every hour and costs £5.40 for a single ticket) to the next village along, where me and my friends would go up the hill and sit and pass a bottle of vodka around, until I would have to beg my parents to drive to collect me, because the last bus home was at 6:30pm. As we got older, we had the privilege of being able to go to our local nightclub, Casino, which has one room and is arguably the worst nightclub in the country (yes, even worse than Hive!). So when I moved to Glasgow, the mere fact that I was in a city was incredibly exciting. Despite how I might personally feel about Glasgow, a recent survey ranked Glasgow 9th on the list of the most miserable cities in the UK to live in. After living here for a few months, I’ve come to learn more about the reasons why it might rank so high.
Being a big city, it’s unsurprising that Glasgow sees high levels of deprivation and crime. According to a survey by Confused.com, Glasgow was voted the 8th least secure postcode in the UK, having reported the 4th highest number of crimes in the UK. With the high crime rate, it’s understandable that many people do not feel safe walking around the city. Women and people of marginalised identities are particularly affected by this statistic, and with the debate around the level of lighting required in some of the city’s parks, they have a right to be concerned. There has been a continuous campaign to address lighting issues in and around Kelvingrove Park in particular: for many people, it does not feel safe to walk through after dark. With the city council making efforts to shift towards a more feminist, inclusive approach to city planning, though, there is hope that these long-ignored issues will finally be addressed going forward.
The area of Glasgow with the most crimes is the Anderston/City/Yorkhill ward, which is where many University of Glasgow students live. Obviously, this is cause for concern, however this issue isn’t exclusive to Glasgow. Student areas across the country face high crime rates. The crime rate in Hyde Park in Leeds is similarly high: 221 crimes were reported in November 2022 itself, with most of these being categorised as violence and sexual behaviour.
As a place to study, Glasgow may have its issues, but it also has huge appeal. There is an excellent public transport network of buses (which can be used by under 22s for free with a Young Scot card: a fact I was very excited to discover when I moved here), and the subway that links the city centre to the West End. Due to the grid design of the city, it is easy to navigate and almost impossible to get lost. It has two major train stations that provide service to destinations throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK, and even has an international airport. There is just something about Glasgow that I fell in love with when I first visited, an inexplicable pull. It’s the city that has let me grow up, it’s the city that I know like that back of my hand, it’s the city I have met friends for life in. I know that it is not the cleanest, the prettiest, or the safest, but my love for the city seems to override this. I love walking down Sauchiehall Street after a night out, I love Firewater Thursdays and I love the huge crowds of students on University Avenue.
I love Glasgow with my entire being. I miss it when I’m not here, and I get fiercely defensive when I hear people speak badly about it. Cities will always have problems, some more than others, and Glasgow is no exception. Despite all the issues the city has, it’s not the buildings that matter. People make Glasgow, and I’m quite certain nothing has ever been truer.