Understanding Glasgow: Developing a New Set of Health and Wellbeing Indicators for Use Within a City

  • Bruce WhyteEmail author
  • Andrew Lyon
Part of the Community Quality-of-Life Indicators book series (CQLI, volume 4)


Glasgow, a post-industrial city situated in the west of Scotland, faces a range of challenges in relation to the health and social circumstances of its population. This chapter describes how a new set of health and wellbeing indicators have been created for Glasgow and the potential benefits that this provides for planners across the city. The Glasgow Indicators project was initiated because, while Glasgow is known to have a range of health and social problems, the inter-relationships of these issues are often not fully understood and in turn not reflected in city strategy.

The model framework adopted for developing the Glasgow indicators was informed by a socio-ecological perspective on health that acknowledges a range of domains and inter-linked environments that affect our lives and combine to determine health, both individually and at a population level. A holistic set of indicators across 12 domains was created (and presented via a web site) that illustrate city trends and allow comparisons both with other places and across different neighbourhoods and socio-economic levels within the city. The collaborative process of creating the indicators, involving many of the key stake-holders across the city, has facilitated their adoption and use. The indicators gathered go beyond measures of economic growth and give a context for the City’s wider social, environmental and cultural aims, and thus provide a resource for cross-sectoral engagement and for better planning.

The project aims were to create a resource that provided a broad holistic description of Glasgow’s health and well-being that is accessible and easily understood and, secondly, to encourage the use of this resource as a facilitator for strategic discussions and thinking about different possible futures for the city. The development and use of the Glasgow Indicators is in its infancy and its full benefits will be seen over a longer term. However, even at this stage, there are lessons that other communities can take from this work.


Health Profile Indicator Work Wellbeing Indicator Indicator Project Scottish Executive 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH)Glasgow CityUK
  2. 2.International Futures ForumFifeScotland, UK

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