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Key Stakeholder

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  1. When I lived in Aberdeen, I must have been suffering from a sort of Stockholm syndrome, coz I just know I'd have taken exception to that remark. Now that I'm in recovery, I have to say, I couldn't agree more. If I never visit the place again, it'll be too soon. I only wonder how I managed to endure the indignantly abrasive mindset of the provocatively insecure inhabitants for as long as I did. I've not been to Leeds, or Corby, so I can't comment. What's worst in those places, Is it the urban environment or the people?
  2. I just congratulated you on being quite nice earlier on, didn't I? But now you've gone and spoiled it.
  3. Ah, thats kind of you, thank you very much - I appreciate it. By saying that you've kind of invalidated my statement that Aberdeen is a charmless place full of cold people. But then there are always exceptions to the rule, and I've always found Torry people to be a bit more communitarian in their outlook and bohemian in their lifestyles than the mainstream of Aberdonians. However, you also say stuff like this: I'd caution against the characterising of your "lucky" generation being subject to the "bitterness" and "envy" of younger people. Frustration and disappointment perhaps, would be closer to the mark. Particularly when we also learn from you that: Thanks very much for that information. It's enlightening. You confirm that many of the people you work alongside conduct their domestic, community and cultural life elsewhere; treating Aberdeen as a kind of dormitory; going "home" elsewhere and meantime driving up the costs of accommodation as they collect rent from those for whom house purchase in Aberdeen has become a hopelessly unattainable dream. Unless, of course, they choose to work in oil and gas. The ageing demographic of the o&g workforce suggests that the younger generation finds that an unacceptable compromise, thinking perhaps either that it's a sunset industry, or that it's an unethical one. Or both.
  4. Yes, as you say, swings and roundabouts. And horses for courses. I'm lucky that my opportunities are not geographically delimited - so where I've chosen to locate has been based upon liveability, community and quality of (urban) environment. As well as, of course, the fact that I could buy twice the property for my money. The 2dec C average higher temperature here compared to Aberdeen is also a welcome bonus. Though, having said that, I have had to buy a new raincoat!
  5. Of course there are far worse places than Aberdeen. But - as you well know - there are many, many far better places. Particularly for those whose life is in the creative arts, Aberdeen is a bit of a howling void. You're so right about the attitude thing: The attitude of most Aberdonians towards the creative arts is absolutely abominable, and their philistinism is close to legendary. Aberdeen will never succeed culturally until this attitude problem changes. I did realise this and I tried to help ease the situation; I and others like me, we really did - but the lack of respect (if not outright suspicion and hostility) directed to the creative arts in Aberdeen (local press references to "artist-lovers" was one particular dog-whistle I didn't appreciate) makes it feel like you're swimming against the tide. Whereas, in many other parts of the country where the arts are the centre of the community, if you are involved in the creative sector, it feels like you have the wind at your back.
  6. Yup. And I know of many others, writers, film-makers, painters, sculptors, fashion designers and musicians similarly hounded from the town. The creative arts and progressive thinkers don't get a good reception in Aberdeen, as a rule. I put those comments gleaned from some of the blog posts up on the blog's "about" page to demonstrate the actively hostile philistinism that a lot of Aberdonians are happy to display. Some of them don't even bother anonymising themselves. Interestingly, it seems that most of the hostility came about when I suggest that active and sustainable transport options, rather than grandiose road-building programmes, would be a good way to tackle Aberdeens traffic congestion. Saying stuff like that doesn't go down well in Aberdeen, where people seem almost childishly attached to their motorcars. I have to ask, Quine - do you agree with the hostile comments? One ex-Aberdeen writer, during a review of John Aberdein's splendid "Strip the Willow" (a speculative fiction novel set in a near-future Aberdeen) mentioned my blog: I think my unpleasant experience of Aberdonians in a small way demonstrates something insidious about the town: Should Aberdonians continue (as they seem hell-bent on doing) to discourage progressive and creative elements from locating in their town, they'll end up living in the Aberdeen they deserve. A good example - times are tough for many sectors, yes? As budgets tighten for even Scotland's symphony orchestras, axes must fall somewhere. So, last year The SCO and the RSNO cut back the number of concerts they performed during the season at the Music Hall in Aberdeen. They didn't cut their performances anywhere else in Scotland, indeed some places got more performances. Why, do you think, did these national arts organisations choose Aberdeen over all other venues in Scotland as a suitable place to implement cuts? Thus hounded from the town, high art, fine art, progressive thinkers and creative enterprises locate/perform/write/code elsewhere to the benefit of other communities in Scotland where the arts are recognised as a vehicle for regeneration and revitalisation. What does that leave for Aberdeen? Some sunset smokestack industrial activity and lots of upscale shopping but with no soul, no philosophical or spiritual underpinning, Aberdonians will live in the town they deserve. At least they'll have nice handbags?
  7. Commuter-belt dormitories. Sure there's a thriving small business community, but as I've said - those businesses tend to be somehow involved in the O&G supply chain, or dependent upon the spending power of those who are. The yummy-mummy-moneygoround is quite something in Aberdeen "City and Shire" (as they say). But my business is not dependent upon the proximity of local disposable incomes, and my product is new media stuff with a production cost which tends towards zero, my major cost is accommodation. So my choice of location comes down to liveability and connectivity. Aberdeen loses. check out my old Aberdeen-based blog: http://otheraberdeen.blogspot.co.uk
  8. The upscale heart of downtown Dumfropolis
  9. Yup. I suppose the point I'm making is that the mono-economy of Aberdeen has formed a sort of event-horizon. It's increasingly difficult for businesses with 'normal' business models (ie those not involved in the oil&gas supply chain, or dependent upon the disposable income of O&G employees) to exist there. So I and others like me take our expertise and capital elsewhere. The economy in Aberdeen becomes less and less diverse, less and less resilient, all the while *looking* more and more vibrant.
  10. In Aberdeen, where I endured sub-standard low-rent accommodation until recently, I couldn't afford to buy the amount and standard of accommodation I needed in order to continue operating the fast-expanding business which I'd set up after uni (freelance, new economy, new media arty stuff). I couldn't afford what I needed, at least not without taking so big a mortgage that I would have been effectively working for the bank, rather than working for myself. (As well as adding to the difficulty of risk management in these adverse economic times.) I did a bit of research, and decided to move away from Aberdeen. Which I did in the summer. And good god have the scales fallen from my eyes since. With the benefit of hindsight and distance, compared with my new location, Aberdeen seems like a charmless place full of cold people. Or a cold place full of charmless people. I'm sorry if that's offensive to some, but that is really just the way it looks from all points south of Lawrencekirk, and it doesn't take long to come to that conclusion once you've escaped. Perhaps I shouldn't have been so surprised that so many of my contemporaries fled Aberdeen just as soon as they'd graduated. My new home+atelier cost just more than half of what a similar property in Aberdeen would have cost. And the council tax is cheaper too. And the broadband's faster. Much, much faster. If small-scale entrepreneurship is to provide a sustainable economic future for communities, Aberdonians must realise that the high house prices of which they seem so proud are a disincentive to small-scale creative enterprises locating in the town. My advice to anyone who doesn't need to be in Aberdeen is to just get out of the place. You won't regret it, and you'll be able to afford a much better level of accommodation elsewhere. </dons flame-proof overalls and crash helmet>
  11. I find this all quite amazing to read. What does the poster think that limestone consists of?
  12. Not me. I'd like advanced western economies to work towards a transport and energy paradigm where the effect of the inevitable oil price shocks referred to in the OP FT link became of much less of a concern than they are today. Stability would be the prize. Don't you want that too? Edit, aside. Oh, and personally, interested in buying property in the NE of Scotland, I actually have an interest in seeing oil prices fall; the current all time-high (in GBP/bbl) is sustaining the all-time-high house prices here. I'd like to see the oil industry collapse into irrelevance. But that's unlikely to happen in car-crazy Britain (and especially excessively car-crazy Scotland, and triply excessively car-crazy Aberdeenshire) no?
  13. The Bloomberg link seems to have moved, but there's plenty breathless excitement here: http://citybreaths.com/post/19964841260/istallinneuropesmostinnovativecity and the beeb's more measured reportage here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17517106 and from inside estonia http://news.err.ee/society/e065014d-9d67-43a2-8f3a-f6cacb54cdae
  14. FT.com - registration required. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/41ba759a-7730-11e1-baf3-00144feab49a.html Instability, supply tightness, political instability in price makers, lack of spare capacity, buoyant demand from brics, single points of failure. A reduction in US carbon-intensity our best hope, plenty capacity there!
  15. Nah, it's much simpler than that - it's about making Tallinn a great place to live; a "global city" competing for footloose talent to come and work in its burgeoning IT sector. Any costs associated with deciding to regard infrastructure like this as a common good and provide it free at the point of use will be more than returned in increased economic growth. US cities are increasingly taking this view too as part of the New Urbanism agenda. It's an interesting sidebar to note that Tallinn's IT predominance ("a sort of Silicon Valley on the Baltic", says the NYT) stems from the Soviet-era Institute of Cybernetics which was located there and is now part of Tallinn's University of Technology.
  16. Surprised you didn't mention "road tax". Of course FED and VED are pollution levies, not road charges. Roads are a common good, paid from the public purse. In the same way, Portland regards city centre trams as a common good.The people of Tallinn have voted to regard public transport, similarly, as a common good, in the same way that they regard free blanket WiFi coverage for residents and visitors (since 2005) as a common good. These policies reap rewards in comparative advantage for their host cities. http://citybreaths.com/post/19964841260/istallinneuropesmostinnovativecity And now Tallinn joins Porland Oregon with free-to-use public transport, regarded as a common good. Talinn will benefit from this innovation... Car-dependent petrol-addicted UK seems hopelessly old fashioned by comparison. Stuck in the middle of the car-crazy 20th century.
  17. The metropolitan authority didn't increase tax rates to achieve this public transport project. Rather, the project increased tax take by regenerating the retail centre of Portland. The metropolitan authority funded the project by borrowing against the increment in tax take which the project would generate thru the reversal of economic decline in the downtown area. No-one is paying 'more when they get there'. Its just that more people are getting there more conveniently and quickly than they had been since the middle of the car-crazy 20th century. So, the project was funded by the economic growth it would provoke and the ongoing operation of the tram is regarded, similar to road infrastructure in urban areas, as a common good. Perhaps you advocate universal road charging too?
  18. Downtown Portland, OR (where your Nikes come from) now has free tram transport in the central area. A big success, being run as a 'common good' by the metropolitan govt (via a not-for-profit public benefit trust corporation) funded from local puchase taxes (which have increased because of greater footfall in the downtown area since the tram was installed in 2001). Whoda thunk that the 'Merkins would go for free public transport? And make a success of it?
  19. Here are some pictures which appear to be from Aberdeen: www.edgewatch.blogspot.com
  20. http://www.citywire.co.uk/money/mortgages-expect-interest-rate-rises-next-year/a550165 Low rates are not "normal".
  21. Yes, that high oil price is the answer! As those nasty crunch-time graph markers ski-jump menacingly upwards - ever up - measuring species extinctions and habitat destruction; social inequality and political instability; resource depletion, global heat budget, ocean acidification and carbon emissions; business uncertainty, food price inflation and a deepening economic depression - the encouraging news is that one of the mechanisms which is critically bound up in all that contributes to all that delivers affluence for a handful of Audi A8 drivers in Aberdeen. You can tell they're affluent cos of the Audis A8's they drive to an industrial estate to do the 65-hour weeks they work, thank-you very much. Some people say that industrial estates are soulless battery-sheds for cubicle clones, but in fact they are dynamic, vibrant innovation hubs - thank-you very much! Yes, somehow its also great that this mechanism delivers bubble-level house prices for a few in Aberdeen, for to the dynamic people who work in the oil industry, high oil house prices serve mostly to demonstrate to others and to confirm to themselves just how vibrant, dynamic and splendid they are; it's no more than they deserve! Thank-you very much! Some people say that this high oil price is acting as a disincentive to the re-deployment of capital away from oil exploration and production and into the development of sustainable carbon-free energy sources, like deepwater wind and subsea tidal race turbines or CCS for coal fired electricity generation; that the oh-so-certain return on investment afforded by the high oil price militates against the reallocation of that capital into 'alternative' energy. But, in any case, why would anyone risk their capital on unproven technology which is supposed to fix a problem which isn't a problem anyway? Haven't they heard? Global warming is now recognised as a good thing. FACT. And Aberdeen shows the way, thank-you very much! And - don't forget! - it's clear that this high oil price and 70 hour working weeks is the reward which the oil people of Aberdeen deserve, for is is the inevitable result of their own vibrant life choices - That dynamically red-faced 55-year old splendidly doing very well thank-you very much bellying out of his M-class in the car-park of some peripheral yet vibrant industrial-estate oil-shed innovation hub at 6 am made that high oil price happen! Somehow, his influence clearly reaches across the globe and influences global flows of capital, population trends and the capacities of millennia-aged geological strata. Obviously, anyone who doesn't love and praise vibrant Aberdeen (along with the splendid oil-people who make the town what it is today) are bitter resentful socialist layabout renters with a sense fo entitlement who missed the boat. But yes, it's their own fault for being born more recently than those baby-boomers who grabbed the lot while the grabbing was good. Thank-you very much! Either that, or they are highly amusing wordies and book-poofs, like this guy: I guess some young 'pseudo intellectual' people don't like the idea of doing a 'technical' diploma or working offshore in order to help destroy the atmosphere for money. Can't think why...
  22. Aberdeen is "showing the way", with this "encouraging news".
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