A business chief today said Aberdeen should not be settling for second best.
Adrian Watson became the chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired two months ago.
Since the organisation was set up it has brought a number of new events to the city.
And it is now working with Aberdeen City Council on Operation Union Street Rejuvenation.
The project is the first phase of a regeneration programme under the City Centre Masterplan and the council will spend more than £1 million.
Mr Watson, 48, said: “We are already encouraged by what we are seeing.
“People can see these changes and people want to see it continue.”
Mr Watson said Aberdonians and businesses were coming together in a bid to improve the area.
He said: “Aberdeen is passionate about Union Street and there is a desire to see it improve.
“People don’t want to see it run-down – when the sun is shining it is a beautiful street.
“Like other cities there are challenges, but there is so much to be proud of and the work that has been done to date.”
He added: “It is about understanding we all have a part to play.”
Mr Watson joined Aberdeen Inspired in July after serving as a police officer with Grampian Police and Police Scotland for 30 years.
He held various roles within the force before becoming chief superintendent and divisional commander for the Aberdeen City division.
In his new role, he is responsible for the organisation’s investment of at least £6.5m in the heart of the city after levy payers voted to return the business-led initiative for a further five years.
The group represents more than 700 businesses in the city centre, and is funded by levy payers and voluntary contributions.
He said: “We want the whole city centre to be vibrant.
“We support levy payers across the city in the West End and George Street.
“We want to get more people into different areas of the city centre.
“We have had fantastic feedback from our levy payers and we want the city centre to be busy.”
Since it started up, Aberdeen Inspired has supported a number of new events.
These included the city’s first Winter Festival that attracted more than 500,000 people.
This year has also seen the Play Me I’m Yours project, which saw pianos installed across the city for people to play. And there have been a number of art projects.
Mr Watson said: “The events have received positive feedback from across the city.
“The Comedy Festival is next and we are really excited about that.
“We want people to really come out and support it, and we want to build on it every year.
“We want this to be positive for the North of Scotland, and make sure we get people who would not normally travel to the city to come here, or people who would normally travel down Scotland to stay here. I’m not saying we will compete against the likes of the Edinburgh Fringe, but we want to give the city a chance. We hope people from across the North of Scotland travel and take in a show or two, so we can build on that success.
“We want our city to be busy – Aberdeen should not settle for second best.”