Tuesday, 8 December 2009

48 - citySquare

I don't know if you know, but Aberdeen is currently undergoing some rather troublesome times financially... the Council get the least amount of funding from the Scottish Government than any where else in Scotland (per capita)... it's because we're seen as a "rich city" - thanks to the wonderful oil industry... you see, we have more millionaires than anywhere else (per square mile) outside of Chelsea. (apparently)... so, as we're told it's thanks to the oil industry, Aberdeen lives.

We obviously have a lot of local business men that have benefited greatly from this wonderful black gold gift - and they want to "give something back" - in the shape of a massive concrete square, covering over our only green space left in the city centre ("that doesn't have dead people in it")...

Let me rewind you a few years, back to when Peacock Visual Arts had full planning permission to build a fantastic, world class contemporary arts centre, skilfully, elegantly and beautifully woven into Union Terrace Gardens steep - unusable slopes by Architects, Brisac Gonzalez. This (on paper) seems like the perfect solution to not only bring Peacock's into a more visible and engaging space for Aberdonians to experience Art & Creativity at all levels, but to enhance and re-energise / re-populate the sadly under-visited gardens….

Fast forward to “just before PVA were going to start building”… and our friends, “the oil industry” pop up their heads and say “hold on… I want that land…err, for the People of Aberdeen, here’s £50 million if you will build….THIS!” .

"this time, this place, this generation"...'this' is an anagram of SHIT i might point out.

That “this” is a giant concrete square, raising the level of the Gardens to street level to “speed up access” from one side of the gardens to the other (of which will save 1 minute in walking). There are many arguments the backers of the plan are trying to convince the public why they should have this concrete square (instead of a re-populated existing garden) – “It will be a cultural centre for Aberdonians” (apparently size matters here – as peacock is “Small Beer”) – this point is sort of mooted by the fact that "Eighty per cent of the people who spend time in the square will have no interest in the arts." was mentioned in rebuttal to the purpose of PVA in Aberdeen. We’re also told (and I still can’t get my head around this one) that “We are by no means going to concrete over the gardens”

…so this has inspired my to make this “protest font”. – a duplicitous and double layered lie. In the Upper case, we have a respectable slab of space with bushes and trees, allegedly living happily around the space…whilst underneath, the sneaky lower case set is the car park we fear it is going to be…

An excellent point by point document by Fraser Denholm addresses all of the serious issues around this matter. I urge anyone to read it, and ask the right questions (any question!)…It’s just a shame that the belligerent and (apparently used to getting their own way) businessmen didn’t think about their approach – before wading in and usurping the already in place PVA plans. It’s a damn shame that we obviously have certain people in certain places that can suddenly do a U turn on a project that had full planning permission all because the whiff of money is too much to ignore. 50Million? Lots of lovely money and a very kind donation to the city…just a shame it’s being put into something apparently a lot of Aberdonians don’t want (and apparently little or no Aberdonians want). Oh, we’ll figure out where the other (minimum estimate) £90 – 100 + million is coming from….and we all know how civic planning budget have gone in the last few years…..

The long and the short of my position is –
I want to keep green space in the heart of Aberdeen.
I want to see a world class, sophisticated arts centre in Aberdeen.
I want Aberdonians to be able to engage and become interested in “the Arts” and I believe the PVA building can be that perfect conduit. Even if people don’t want to see “art” – they can rest assured that PVA will be the best concourse INTO the re-vitalised union Terrace gardens.

Sign this petition if you agree with me. Write letters to councillors, MSP’s and the press – please please please CARE and please FIND OUT INFORMATION FOR YOURSELF don’t let a rich and powerful media machine tell you what to think. (and for that matter, ME either - so do your research.)

This typeface is now unavailable for download - but will be included in the limited edition CD Rom of all 52 Typefaces at the beginning of 2010. To secure a CD Rom, please email us (Phil & Gabi) at info@g-r-a.co.uk. If you would like to get involved in making a typeface for the project, please email us at : info@g-r-a.co.uk or leave a comment below!

1 comment:

  1. Good on ya Phil 'n' Gabi, right-on 'not-so-wee' post, listen up A'berdeen, cheers mate


please leave some wisdom for Gabi and Phil to soak up!