Re-inventing Aberdeen for a new era

The collapse in the oil price is a painful reminder that Britain’s time as an oil producer won’t last forever. We have been here before, of course, and the oil price has always bounced back giving us another period of buoyancy. But, as each year passes, we get closer to the end of the North Sea Oil era.

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Transport solution could be over our heads

At a time when Aberdeen is looking at implement a new City Centre Masterplan and looking at ways to connect the city centre more effectively to Aberdeen Beach, is this a time to reconsider my suggestion of a city centre monorail?

monorail for Aberdeen? Read More...
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Concern grows over Marischal Square

Judging by the petitions and demonstrations, it seems that many of Aberdeen’s citizens have a healthy ambition to set high standards when it comes to regenerating our city centre. That is surely a laudable aim.

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Will development make Marischal College more enclosed?

When Muse Developments and Aviva Investors lodged their detailed plans for Aberdeen’s Marischal Square in May this year it seemed like the developers had won, despite widespread reservations from the public.

proposed Marischal Square, Aberdeen Read More...
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Marischal Square: shouldn't we aim a bit higher?

It’s probably inevitable that the unveiling of the design for the proposed Marischal Square in the centre of Aberdeen has provoked a barrage of negative comments in the press.

Provost Skene's House ┬ęK McEwen Read More...
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Has short-termism ended our ability to think ahead?

It was in 1957 that the then Scottish Secretary signed off the plan for the new bridge over the River Dee to replace the mediaeval Bridge of Dee and link to both the Ring Road (Anderson Drive) and also head west round Garthdee to the proposed Aberdeen by-pass.

1949 Granite City - A Plan for Aberdeen Read More...
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End the delivery rip-off

I am hoping that a new bill brought forward by Sir Robert Smith, MP for West Aberdeenshire, may tackle the nonsense of hiking delivery charges to Scottish addresses.

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Can new city centre plan achieve consensus?

Just when it seemed that the plans for a transformation of Aberdeen city centre were about to disappear, along with Sir Ian Wood’s incredibly generous potential donation of £50 million to the scheme, along comes a new plan from Aberdeen architect John Halliday of Halliday Fraser Munro.

Union Terrace Gardens new plan Read More...
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Union Terrace Gardens 11 months on

Eleven months after Aberdeen City Council administration voted against the Aberdeen City Garden Project, the council’s deputy leader Marie Boulton has suggested winding the clock back and reviving the Peacock arts centre plan for Union Terrace Gardens.

Union Terrace Gardens Read More...
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City of Culture bid doomed

The announcement that Aberdeen has failed to make the short leet for the 2017 UK City of Culture is disappointing, but not surprising.

Dundee Waterfront Read More...
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Disappointment at new Aberdeen civic square

The good news that we were to lose the much hated eyesore that is St Nicholas House, has turned into disappointment at the proposed replacement.

Marischal Square Read More...
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Reviving pride in Aberdeen city centre

After the sometimes bitter political battles over Aberdeen’s City Garden Project, the initiative by Prof Ferdinand von Prondzynski, principal of the Robert Gordon University, holds out some hope that it could restore a sense of direction for the city.

Aberdeen Town House Read More...
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Aberdeen needs a plan to recover

I have made no secret of my support for the Aberdeen City Garden Project. I saw it as transformational for the city. Something that our forward-thinking forebears (who boldly built the viaduct that is Union Street to create the modern city we know) would have been proud of.

Union Terrace Aberdeen Read More...
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Aberdeen City Garden the story so far

The idea to create a new civic space in the heart of Aberdeen over the Denburn Valley is not new. But the latest Aberdeen City Garden proposal was approved by a majority of 52% in a March 2012 referendum. But the new council administration aims to vote the plans down. Read More...
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The importance of a vibrant city

I have an old photograph of Aberdeen in the 19th Century, soon after the Granite City gained that title, following the completion of the huge granite viaduct that carries the grandeur of Union Street across the Denburn Valley.

Union Bridge old Read More...
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Dismayed by attempt to derail democracy

Along with a substantial proportion of the local population I am dismayed at the threat to vote out the City Garden proposal for Aberdeen city centre, despite the result of a democratic referendum. Read More...
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City centre investment depends on garden vote

I only discovered last week that the City Garden referendum in Aberdeen has much wider implications than simply the decision between retaining the existing Union Terrace Gardens or creating a new City Garden spanning the Denburn Valley.

City Garden Read More...
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Diverting energy from the Energy Capital?

It wasn’t the creation of Enterprise Areas that surprised me. It was the fact that an Enterprise Area for Low Carbon and Renewables technologies appeared to very deliberately exclude the established global centre for energy technology – Aberdeen.

Offshore wind turbines Read More...
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New attitudes needed to city centre trade

If I was going to open a shop, I would start out by doing some pretty intensive market research. I would want to know what people want. I would want to know whether there was space in the market for my business.
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Millennium Park draws visitors into downtown Chicago

At yesterday’s City Garden presentation, one of the first examples of city centre revitalisation presented by Charles Landry, author of City Making and Creative City, was the Millennium Park in Chicago.
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Acquisition strengthens Aberdeen's global reach

It would be difficult to find a better example of Aberdeen’s drive to strengthen its role as a global oil and gas technology hub than the Wood Group’s £600 million acquisition of fellow Aberdeen company PSN, announced earlier this week.

Wood Group Brazil Read More...
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The call that began a remarkable journey

It was almost exactly seven years ago that Dr Stefan Geider at Camphill in Aberdeen called to ask if I could help with setting up a campaign. What was to follow tested my PR and public affairs skills to the extreme, but I would have been a lot poorer in so many ways had I not risen to the challenge.

Camphill Aberdeen City and Shire Read More...
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Good and bad news from world of politics

Reading today’s Press and Journal newspaper holds out hope and then dashes it. In the early pages is reference to moves to persuade the UK government to support the development of an appropriate infrastructure for Europe’s Energy Capital.

Then, on the letters page, is an example of the in-fighting that has hampered our progress for too long.

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Marketing Scotland’s new energy future

In the immediate years before setting up my first PR consultancy, I was responsible for marketing and promotion at the development organisation for the North East of Scotland.

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Action needed now to secure UK oil industry

The message delivered by Sue Bruce to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) that action is needed now to encourage investment in the North Sea oil and gas industry needs to be heeded by our politicians.

oil platform Read More...
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How does City Square stack up?

In the 19th century Aberdeen made great strides. Union Street – a viaduct on huge granite arches – was built to extend the city west over the Denburn Valley. It was the realisation of a remarkably forward-thinking vision and a breathtaking feat of civil engineering in an era of wheelbarrows, picks and shovels.



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City Square aims to put the heart in Aberdeen

Plans to transform part of Aberdeen’s city centre into a large public open space, or civic square, have taken a step forward with the unveiling of a new name and identity for the plan. The City Square, would open off Union Street and build a new public space over Union Terrace Gardens and the Denburn.

City Square Project Read More...
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Offshore Europe dispels any gloom

When the organisers said that this year’s Offshore Europe was going to be the best yet, I must admit to some nagging doubts. We are, after all, in the worst recession since the Great Depression.

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ACSEF maps out vision for the future

At yesterday’s ACSEF Economic Summit, the chairman, Tom Smith, admitted that he is fond of saying that this region has had “more visions than Joan of Arc”.

Offshore platform
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Plans for Aberdeen's new city centre revealed

Today, the wraps come off the initial plans for the transformation of Aberdeen City Centre. The proposal would create a new six-acre civic space as a focus for the city as it aims to keep its role as one of the world’s premier energy centres.

Union Terrace Read More...
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Securing Aberdeen's role as energy centre

At our IoD Aberdeen lunch yesterday, three business leaders involved in Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future presented their vision for the future development of the region.
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