In 1960 the delineation of the Inner Ring motorway blighted the city's inner suburbs (though many were ripe for redevelopment) but saved its gridded heart. A decade later Lord Esher called Glasgow "the finest surviving example of a great Victorian city" and in 1975 the entire central zone of the city was designated a Conservation Area. Since then creative conservation has driven Glasgow's post-industrial make-over, from stone-cleaned streets and rehabilitated tenements to the renewal of the Merchant City and the Victorian / Edwardian core. There was conservative respect at Glasgow Cathedral precinct, 1991, and at St Andrew's Square, 1996, but at Princes Square, 1986-87, The Italian Centre, 1990-91 and The Lighthouse, 1998-99, a more imaginative adaptation of existing fabric helped revitalise the inner city. At the same time, commercial infill - some sensitised to precedent as at 120 West Regent Street, 1988-90, some uncompromising and audacious as at The Beacon, 1996-98, and the Radisson SAS Hotel, 1998-2002 - "conserved" the city's historic ability to reinvent itself with radical self-assurance.
This confidence stimulated the city's reclamation of its river. Since the 1970s, when the Clyde Walkway made a promenade of the north bank, a tide of commercial, residential and leisure development has washed west from the city centre: offices at Atlantic Quay, 1990-2000, housing at Lancefield Quay and, further west, the Clyde Auditorium, 1995-97 and the Science Centre, 1998-2000. In the east, at Glasgow Green, are the exciting if mutually ill-mannered "Homes for the Future", 1998-2000, while across the river on the razed sites of Gorbals a vast new suburb of latter-day terraces and tenements has been built.
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