WHAT, might you ask, is a city urbanist?

Well, straight from the horse's mouth, it's - or, more rightly, he's - the council's newest employee and he, Professor Brian Evans, is going to guide Glasgow from being a post-industrial city through its current incarnation as a proto-knowledge city and into the future.

What, might you ask, is a proto-knowledge city? Good question, I haven't a clue. Google takes me little further. I ring the Glasgow City Council press office to ask and it turns out it's a fairly literal description.

We are, basically, in the early stages of being a city where there's a lot of educated, skilled people.

Think of the city, I'm told, like a horse shoe shape.

Starting at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and move round to Glasgow University then round to the Glasgow School of Art, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, along to Glasgow Caledonian University, down to Strathclyde University and finish in the banking district with companies that use information.

A lot of knowledge, a lot of skills.

Professor Evans, who has worked on highly successful projects in Moscow and China, is an expert in 'placemaking'.

When the elements of your job need quote marks around them, you know you've got some explaining to do.

Placemaking, then, is the bringing together of design and planning to create public spaces that improve the community's wellbeing and health.

We have 120,000 students in the city, some who will graduate and move away and many who will stay here, meaning we have a highly skilled population.

This is one of the reasons Barclays bank named Glasgow one of seven global data hubs - because we have the IT skills here.

Data use will become key to Glasgow's economy.

But if the city wants to be truly attractive as a place for outside investment it needs to take a look at how it can improve itself in a clear-sighted and innovative way.

The Barclays development promises to create up to 2500 jobs, strengthening the financial services sector, and investment like this means the city has to be liveable.

Glasgow is a proud city, boastful of its arts and culture scene, its history and its people.

But does the rest of the world see Glasgow as we see it?

We rarely rank towards the top of the 'most liveable cities' lists, where Melbourne in Australia does well every year and where there's usually a glut of Canadian cities in the top 10.

Employing a strategic advisor to take an overview of how Glasgow functions, how it is designed and how its residents live, is a progressive step by Glasgow City Council.

Professor Evans led the highly-praised team that transformed Grainger Town in Newcastle.

From reading about the project - taking a run down area in economic decline where shops sat empty and beautiful listed buildings were at risk - it sounds a lot like Glasgow city centre.

And the problems in the city centre are as familiar and reliable at the Duke of Wellington's traffic cone: there are empty retail spaces galore, it is congested with traffic, it is hostile to cyclists, lacking green spaces and George Square is under-used.

These sound like the sorts of things city planners should already be highly alert to and I'm sure they are.

We know exactly where we go wrong in the city, goodness knows we all complain enough about the major lack of a joined up transport system; the lack of clean, green streets; the derelict buildings.

With Professor Evans taking an overview of how the city moves round, housing and our environment, this could be an exciting step for the city.

For your average person on the street, there seems to be a fair bit of jargon involved.

But how the city functions, obviously, affects everyone so it's important we all take an interest. And once we cut to the chase, this could be very interesting indeed.