Aberdeen's Renaissance - Abzolutely Aberdeen
Abzolutely Aberdeen: A Vanguard Conference 2018
Aberdeen is a glorious and highly under-rated city. The 'silver city on the golden sands’ and the gateway to so much beauty from stunning Royal Deeside and the wild and vast Cairngorms on the west, to the Banffshire coast up north or the dramatic and imposing Dunnottar Castle to the South. We have gorgeous stretches of sands, crystal clear rivers, forests and glens, mountains and vast skies, mouth watering local food and festivals galore.
However, I’m not sure as a city that we are that great at shouting about or even appreciating it ourselves. It’s one of the reasons I was delighted to be part of this year’s Vanguard event held last week at The Lemon Tree. Along with representatives from across the business and private sector and guest speakers including Derek McInnes from Aberdeen Football Club and Mike Galloway (former executive director of City Development at Dundee City Council which is well into its own exciting renaissance), this inspiring event was primarily focused on developments currently underway and proposed initiatives aimed at promoting the city and region and making it a more attractive place to live, work and visit.
Vanguardees made various presentations on making the most of the experience economy by developing foodie tours (seafood, ice-cream, cheese and wine), publicising walking, running and cycle routes for locals and visitors, bringing back the open top bus tour, launching a comprehensive and up to date online What’s On Guide, developing local resources for schools, installing a large screen outside Marks and Spencer to show live sports events and communicate with the public about local events and happenings, becoming a digital content leader, creating outdoor cafes and seating areas, making more of the Castlegate, and Re:Union - making Union Street more pedestrian and festival friendly. More ambitious projects included identifying an iconic attraction for the city (such as Dundee has with their new V&A museum) and investigating the possibility of building a cable car across the Torry battery, harbour and beachfront providing a new route into the city for cruise ship passengers and allowing tourists and locals alike to take in their city’s skyline from a new perspective.
2018 has been a bit of a limbo year for Aberdeen with delays hitting key investment projects. But watch this space: 2019 is going to be Aberdeen’s year and the continuation of a much needed transformation and revival for the city centre and beyond. Along with many of the initiatives mentioned above, we can also look forward to the opening/ re-opening of many big attractions including the Music Hall, the upgraded Art Gallery and the new exhibition centre - TECA (The Event Complex Aberdeen) and the continuation of much loved festivals such as Nuart and the Spectra Light Festival.
It’s the start of an exciting new chapter for Aberdeen and one that can only help both locals and tourists fall in love with the city and everything it has to offer.