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Rebecca Buchan: Are new buildings really the answer for Aberdeen’s wide open spaces?

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Last week, the Granite City was afforded a splash of colour as street artists from across the world arrived to use Aberdeen as their canvas.

Now five years old, the Nuart initiative has definitely added some character and vibrancy to our often dour-looking streets.

But, while the event has to be applauded for enticing people in – and it really is first class – it doesn’t do enough to paint over the cracks of the problem that is Union Street.

It recently emerged that the vacancy rate on the Granite Mile is 20% – a figure described as usually “unheard of in an affluent city”. And that’s certainly what Aberdeen used to be. But, now, the stark realisation is that we’re faced with essentially a fifth of the city’s main street sitting derelict.

I am aware we are not alone, with properties on Princes Street in Edinburgh and Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow falling victim to the same fate. But that doesn’t mean we should just accept this as an inevitable state of the modern day high street.

Plans are in place to transform Aberdeen, and I have always been a big supporter of progress. I have also advocated that no idea should be considered too wild or ambitious to be considered – the city needs to find its wow factor.


© Evening Express

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