Simple steps forward are best for Granite City's future

Simple steps forward are best for Granite City’s future

Many planning alternatives have been missed in Aberdeen, however we will be taught from the successes of cities in different nations, writes native resident Dr Anna Paterson.

Central Aberdeen is exclusive, distinctive amongst metropolis facilities – historic, quirky, usually beautiful.

Many consider that the nice granite heritage has been diluted – frankly, spoiled – by newer adjustments in building and site visitors.

Proper now, the occupied with what cities appear to be is altering once more, in response to internet zero objectives and, after all, lack of funds. In different phrases, spending thousands and thousands of kilos on fancy lights, miles of paving and pedestrian islands in unlivable cityscapes is as out of date as it’s unsustainable.

How to create assets that improve life in the city inexpensively, shortly and, sure, completely? Many alternatives have been missed in Aberdeen; simply think about the 2 coated markets on Union Avenue. Each have been underutilized, unpopular and in ruins.

The demolition of considered one of them left a big website open. It may have been reworked right into a central inexperienced house, important now that Union Terrace Gardens was expensively paved. As an alternative, metropolis planners determined to construct…sure, a brand new coated market.

In the meantime, Trinity Middle misplaced. It may have been reworked right into a extra nice and convivial house at a a lot decrease value. Too late to vary now, sadly.

The proposed adjustments to Castlegate and seashore entry are absolutely moved for very comparable causes, however essentially the most urgent case is Union Avenue.

Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce has rightly demanded rapid and cost-effective changes. Listed below are some ideas.

Dos and Don’ts for a Higher Downtown

Do not isolate your self Union Street. That’s to say, its adjoining areas shouldn’t be left as they’re as we speak: shabby backwaters, cluttered with garbage and rubbish cans, hammered by native site visitors. It’s a splendid avenue, however which interacts with its setting, like every thing and everybody.

It isn’t costly to scrub the areas on either side. Use easy gestures to make networks of streets, alleys, gardens and courtyards inexperienced, calm and charming. Easy issues like making it simpler for companies and residents to maintain trash cans out of sight and off sidewalks, maybe with designated assortment factors.

Don’t put timber and shrubs in giant pots – they function rubbish cans. As an alternative, flip your entire size of Union Avenue right into a tree-lined boulevard

Pedestrianize as a lot as doable and prohibit parking, aside from native residents. I imply Golden Sq., too! Small companies and their prospects would find it irresistible, and footfall would profit Union Avenue.

Restrict the variety of retailers promoting alcohol, vaping, and so on. throughout the town and supply hire reductions for essentially the most imaginative outlets.

Union Avenue is now not the bustling buying vacation spot it as soon as was (Picture: James Wyllie/DC Thomson)

Greening the streets is vital for a lot of good causes that definitely needn’t be repeated right here. Don’t put timber and shrubs in giant pots – they function rubbish cans. As an alternative, flip your entire size of Union Avenue right into a tree-lined boulevard with vast sidewalks.

Center should be more bike friendly, however take it simple on the tarmac. Pavers are splendidly efficient site visitors calmers and, extra importantly, environmentalists have argued for many years that sustainable city drainage is an important a part of water administration.

Extra controversially, it is value making an allowance for that some cities solely enable hybrid, electrical, or hydrogen autos in downtown site visitors.

Impressed from overseas

Wanting overseas for city planning fashions is a really fascinating train. This summer time, I used to be in a metropolis in northern Europe, just like Aberdeen in some ways, however run smarter and extra sustainably: Uppsala in central Sweden.

That they had completed a number of the easy issues a very long time in the past – limiting new buildings and discovering cool methods to replace and use previous ones, creating inexperienced areas, planting timber and regulating site visitors.

Consuming and socializing outside is fashionable and fashionable in Uppsala, regardless of the chilly temperatures (Image: EQRoy/Shutterstock)

Maybe essentially the most important downtown enchancment has been the cleansing up of the small river that runs via the town. At the moment fish and greenery thrive and the riverfront has shortly turn into a lifeline, surrounded by streets and footpaths, small parks and geese for straightforward entry to the water.

Inevitably, as a result of the setting is so interesting to all ages, footfall has elevated, the buying scene is full of life and café tradition is spilling onto the streets, regardless of Uppsala being additional north than Aberdeen.

What will be completed with Den Burn? Aberdeen metropolis engineers – a problem?

Aberdeen and Uppsala are nicely matched

For many who suppose this sort of appeal offensive is nice for small cities, suppose once more. Aberdeen and Uppsala are nicely matched in some ways.

Their populations are comparable (177,074 for Uppsala in 2019 and 198,590 for Aberdeen in 2020), each surrounded by industrial and residential areas, and each are county cities for affluent agricultural areas.

Each cities have universities, based across the similar time in historical past (Picture: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson)

Aberdeen’s business is the strongest, given its hyperlinks to the North Sea fishing and fossil gas industries, however Uppsala has invested well, together with in numerous offshoots of college analysis, notably in biomedical science firms.

As for the town of studying and heritage, each locations have been spiritual facilities because the twelfth century. Nice cathedrals have been in-built each and universities have been based – Uppsala in 1477 and Aberdeen in 1495.

Which brings up one other query for Aberdeen: how can we additional combine universities into the material of the town?

Dr Anna Paterson is an Aberdeen-based translator

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