Just how serious is the decline of Aberdeen?
The efforts to keep cars off a tired Union Street, a shadow of its former self, are working. Take, for example, a drive down the city’s principal thoroughfare.
It can take an inordinately long time, thanks to bus lanes being closed and cars backed up behind buses as they stop to drop off or collect passengers, then can’t move on because there are other similar vehicles doing the same thing ahead of them.
And, you can always count the “for sale” and “to rent” signs to pass the time before you’re diverted on to the scenic route.
The snail’s pace of driving does allow you to notice just how badly the town has diminished
Somebody reckoned it’s better to allow a handful of people to stroll along the now pedestrianised part of Union Street and to reroute vehicles on to the heavily congested Guild Street. It’s there that queues of cars, vans and lorries are stuck behind a line of largely empty buses heading back on to Union Street, or destined for Union Square to see the most recent shop closures.
The snail’s pace of driving does, however, allow you to notice just how badly the town has diminished and, while there has been a raft of major projects to bring improvements, the infrastructure remains a problem.
And before we hear: “What about the Berryden corridor?” let’s remember where that will take motorists – straight to the heart of that Guild Street bottleneck.
Aspirations are achievable – but might take a long, long time
Covid has been a gamechanger, but haven’t all the admirable plans currently working their way through to reality come too late for a city on a ventilator and without the status it once enjoyed? If investors can’t see a way to make money in Aberdeen, what does the future hold for the city?
Do we place too much importance on the need for a degree for jobs outwith the professions like medicine and law?
With the North Sea oil and gas industry having shed tens of thousands of jobs, employment opportunities for young people – many of them currently seeking a university degree to allow them access to the most menial of jobs – are dwindling. Do we place too much importance on the need for a degree for jobs outwith the professions like medicine and law?
Aberdeen and the north-east hit the jackpot when oil entered its economic veins half a century ago. Now, as it ponders the next few decades and continues to overcome the downside of its geography – travel and transportation are too expensive – it tries to reinvent itself as a place of eco and technological innovation.
Such aspirations are achievable, but it might take a long, long time.