The nights, as we say in Aberdeen, are fair drawing in – and that creates challenges for a northern city such as ours. The granite sparkles less often. Vistas are lost. Unlit areas can become no-go.
However, the latest City Centre Masterplan project promises to turn the long dark days to our advantage by lighting our streetscape in spectacular new ways.
Aberdeen in Colour aims to showcase landmark buildings, monuments and civic spaces, and through the interplay of light and architecture give our city centre a character every bit as invigorating as that experienced on a summer’s day.
A survey has just been launched on the Council website to discover what kind of lighting treatment residents would like to see used. The potential options are presented as short series of images. I would encourage you to study the styles and pick your favourites, with the survey available here.
Consultants Steensen Varming will use the results in drawing up the creative lighting strategy. The award-winning firm’s work includes illuminating Sydney Opera House, so we’re in trusted hands.
The strategy is broad in its scope. It might complement our cultural offering, trace new routes through the city, and increase security. New buildings could also be centre stage.
Steensen Varming have adopted six themes: Unique Aberdeen; A Welcoming Destination; A New City Experience; Waterfront Connections; Night Time Economy; and Leadership in Technology and Sustainability.
Importantly, they have also been asked to produce an implementation plan. Proposals must be properly costed and the benefits analysed so we can be sure we’re delivering best value for the taxpayer when taking forward any plans.
Understanding opportunities and challenges has always been a necessary and prudent part of the Masterplan work. We are currently awaiting the results of studies into parking and City Living, both of which will inform action plans.
With regard to Aberdeen in Colour, we’re delighted to be working with Aberdeen Inspired, operator of the Business Improvement District, on the project. As indicated earlier, the partnership approach must extend to the public too.
The Masterplan was shaped by the people and residents have played a key role in honing visions for Broad Street, Union Terrace Gardens and Provost Skene’s House.
We hope people will be similarly enthusiastic in making their views known on Aberdeen. in Colour. The future can be as bright as you’d like it to be!
Cllr Jenny Laing.