As part of the Aberdeen City Centre Masterplan consultation process, Kevin Murray Associates and BDP organised a series of City Talk Series with Aberdeen City Council. The series of talks invited experts from other cities to share their experiences of changing their city with a public audience, followed by a Q&A session. The purpose of these talks was to expand the conversation about Aberdeen’s changing city centre to include learning from other places.
The first talk was from Bjorn Siesjö, City Architect in Gothenburg. Bjorn’s talk focused on the River City Vision for Gothenburg, highlighting the importance of vision, strategy and engaging both the public and politicians; creating a more diverse economy; creating public realm that supports year-round activity; and making much more of the water-front areas in the city.
The second talk, in January, was from Eddie Smith, Manchester. Eddie is the Strategic Director for Strategic Development at Manchester City Council and has overseen many major initiatives in the city. His presentation focused on regeneration over the last 30 years, including the adaptive use of heritage buildings and historic spaces, increasing the city’s residential population and managing changing transport needs in a growing city through innovative approaches.
The third talk was by Rollin Stanley, the General Manager of Planning, Development and Assessment in the City of Calgary. Calgary is undergoing rapid change, with a growing population related to the role of oil production in Alberta. Rollin brings to bear his experience and reputation as a visionary, drawing on what works to change things that don’t. He has worked on revitalising the City of St. Louis through tax credits and historic preservation, urbanizing the suburbs of Washington D.C. and redeveloped out-dated industrial districts in Toronto. His approach was colourful and challenging.
The City Talks were well attended and well received by Aberdeen citizens, with many people attending all three events. The talks provided a common reference point for those who attended, and aided a deeper level of discussion in the public consultation sessions that each talk corresponded with. All three of the talks can be accessed through Aberdeen City Council’s Shaping Aberdeen site.
If you would like to discuss how a similar series could enrich your planning and consultation process, please get in touch with us.