‘Visionary’ city planner to detail how Aberdeen can learn from American regeneration success

Rollin Stanley
Rollin Stanley

A key player in North American city planning and urbanisation projects is heading to the Granite City next week to share his experiences in successful regeneration.

Aberdeen City Council has invited internationally-renowned city planner, Rollin Stanley, who has delivered numerous successful regeneration projects in major cities including St Louis, Maryland, and latterly Calgary, to present the latest City Talk on Thursday 5 March.

Mr Stanley, general manager of planning, development and assessment for Calgary, will highlight the ways in which he implemented a range of growth management strategies for four major North American metro areas through processes including neighbourhood revitalisation projects and infrastructure improvements.

Regarded by many as a visionary in urban planning, Mr Stanley will address an invited audience of business leaders, stakeholders and members of the public in the third City Talk presentation being staged as part of the information gathering process in the long-term Aberdeen City Centre Masterplan project.

Aberdeen City Council deputy leader Marie Boulton, who chairs the cross-party city centre regeneration working group, said the opportunity to gather information from an internationally-renowned planner like Mr Stanley, who has successfully transformed the image and reputation of major cities like St Louis and Calgary, is significant for the Masterplan process and would provide valuable learnings for Aberdeen.

“Rollin Stanley has decades of experience in delivering successful large-scale transformation projects and we are keen to learn from his extensive knowledge as we work to shape Aberdeen for the future,” she added.

“We have already gathered information from European and UK cities through the previous City Talks with Gothenburg architect Bjorn Siesjo and Manchester City Council’s strategic development director Eddie Smith. There is a great deal we can learn from the ways others have faced up to the challenges and opportunities involved in projects of this scale.

“Key themes and objectives have already been identified through public consultation to help all involved in the City Centre Masterplan project get it right in delivering a city which is fit for purpose for the next 25 years and beyond.

“We are very much looking forward to Rollin’s insights into what has proved successful in the many projects he has been involved in over the years.”

The City Talk, which will take place in Lecture Theatre SB42 of the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment at Robert Gordon University, will be recorded and published on the Aberdeen City Council website in the days following the event.

Mr Stanley said he was looking forward to his visit to Aberdeen and added: “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity by Aberdeen City Council to visit the city to highlight the way in which Calgary has changed over the years and the fact that our emerging growth management strategy is now a model for North America around the way in which it is linked to our capital investment and infrastructure programmes.

“Right now, Calgary is growing at the same rate as New York City, with 40,000 new residents in each of the past two years, and a lot of that has been fuelled by oil production in the Oil Sands. Our city of 1.3 million has rapidly shifted growth at the fringe, to a boom of downtown residential construction and I will focus on the way Calgary has successfully dealt with the oil growth pressures and used it as a real catalyst for change.

“The current oil price drop is presenting a new chapter in the way the City is working to diversify while maintaining infrastructure pressures and I believe there are learnings a city like Aberdeen can take from the way in which we are facing up to those challenges.

“During my time in Aberdeen I will also be having discussions with Councillors Laing and Boulton and senior members of the City Centre Masterplan team, and I have been impressed with the way in which they have been prepared to open up the debate around city centre regeneration by staging presentations like my own as part of their information gathering process.

“Aberdeen already has a worldwide reputation for excellence – especially within the oil sector – and hopefully my experience in cities like Calgary, Toronto and St Louis will help deliver an informative and thought provoking presentation next week. I am looking forward to learning from the experiences in Aberdeen and see this as very much a two-way visit.”

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