Let us inspire your city...

Aberdeen Inspired is Aberdeen City Centre’s Business Improvement District that represents over 700 city centre businesses within the city centre.

Funded by both levy payers and voluntary contributions, Aberdeen Inspired works hard to help improve and effect positive change in our city centre.


Did you know?

Aberdeen is the first city in Scotland to be crowned Best European BID (Business Improvement District) 2017 by the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Berlin.

Aberdeen Inspired’s leading role in delivering the successful Nuart Aberdeen Festival in April played a significant part in the judge’s decision to declare the organisation as the winner of the 2017 award.


As well as lobbying on behalf of its levy payers and supporting festivals and projects in the city, the success of other Aberdeen Inspired projects such as the first Aberdeen Comedy Festival, Summer of Art, and the Aberdeen Christmas Village also helped the organisation to stand out against other finalists, including Amsterdam and Hamburg.



Inspired vision...

The vision of Aberdeen Inspired is to make Aberdeen City Centre one of the most vibrant, attractive, prosperous and liveable city centre’s in Scotland. Our role is to stimulate the economy, improve on the existing attractiveness, and to market the city centre as a destination of choice.

Our vision is executed through five main themes detailed below:

City Centre Masterplan project aims to brighten Aberdeen’s future

Proposals to help Aberdeen shine as never before are to be drawn up under the City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) – with a project to showcase statues, gateways, civic spaces and landmark buildings.

“Aberdeen in Colour” aims to raise the city’s profile by lighting its unique architecture and streetscape. It could also improve wayfinding and enhance cultural experiences while boosting security, social interaction and inclusiveness.

Specialist firm Steensen Varming have been appointed to develop the creative lighting strategy and implementation plan after a competitive tendering process. The award-winning design consultancy was formed in 1933 and has illuminated World Heritage Sites, including Sydney Opera House (main picture).

The project is being brought forward by Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeen Inspired, operator of the Business Improvement District.

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s lead on the City Centre, said: “We are delighted be driving ahead with this City Centre Masterplan project, which has the potential to animate Aberdeen in spectacular new ways, whatever time of day or year.

“We are especially pleased to have secured the services of Steensen Varming, a company with a global reputation for bringing cities and civic spaces to life in a way that is designed around people and respects the character of the setting.

“These installations could help us build on initiatives like SPECTRA, our hugely-successful annual lighting festival, and even become works of art in themselves. The Council is delighted to be working in partnership with Aberdeen Inspired on this project and it will be exciting to see the proposals forward for consideration.”


Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “Aberdeen Inspired is committed to seeing the CCMP move forward, with the Aberdeen In Colour workstream another example where the organisation will meaningfully work with Aberdeen City Council and others to ensure the transformation continues.

“The benefits of a creative lighting strategy for our City Centre will be there for all to see and will put us to the fore in national terms, exactly where we ought to be.”

The CCMP – unanimously adopted by Aberdeen City Council in 2015 – said “Aberdeen in Colour” could drive the night-time economy and “identify opportunities to raise the profile of Aberdeen at home and further afield”.

New and historic buildings could become part of the project, with dynamic and interactive approaches to lighting considered. In keeping with the CCMP’s “Living City for Everyone” theme, “Aberdeen in Colour” would be designed to support visually-impaired people, creating a sense of belonging for all residents and visitors.

Energy efficient lighting would be used and the project would, where possible, integrate with Aberdeen’s Digital Strategy. The proposals will also consider residential amenity and analyse the effect on the city’s skyline.

In addition “Aberdeen in Colour” would highlight potential linkages with the “Aberdeen 365” events programme and look to complement the overall Masterplan programme so benefits across projects can be locked in.

A public engagement exercise is to be held to help inform the strategy, which is expected to be completed in early 2018 and will include costings. In due course the proposals will go to councillors, who would decide whether or not to progress the plans.

Steensen Varming have delivered high-profile Lighting Masterplans and Creative Lighting Projects for cities and significant sites across the world, winning awards and accolades.

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From the desk of the CEO...

As the Chief Executive of Aberdeen Inspired I would first like to welcome you to our website.


We planned, supported and carried out many successful projects throughout the company’s 5 year term. Most recently we spearheaded the overwhelmingly successful street art festival, Nuart Aberdeen. Working with the Nuart Festival in Stavanger, Aberdeen Inspired invited a celebrated collection of internationally renowned artists to leave their mark on our city’s walls. As well as beautiful art pieces, unique to Aberdeen there was a full program of artist talks, street art walking tours and film screenings. We are hoping to continue walking tours throughout the summer months, announcement coming soon.

Over the past few years, Aberdeen Inspired has continued to work hard to help improve the city centre, working with several partners we transformed the roof of St Nicholas into a green space called The Roof Garden, giving shoppers and visitors a place to relax. The area benefited from additional planting, seating, a picnic area and a children’s play park. Since the opening of the Roof Garden in October 2015 the area has been used for several festivals, including the popular Jazz Festival and events all of which have improved footfall and dwell time to the city centre.

One of our key objectives here at Aberdeen Inspired is to make the city centre a safe environment for visitors day and night. In 2016 we were accredited for the fourth year running with the desirable Purple Flag status, we have been working closely with our partners through a weekend partnership group to ensure this status is maintained and over time improved. 2016 also seen the inaugural Aberdeen Comedy Festival, spearheaded by Aberdeen Inspired and in partnership with Breakneck Comedy, the comedy festival involved over 250 comedians, 25 city centre venues over 23 days. The festival was well received and we hope to build on this in 2017.

Aberdeen Inspired are also playing their leading part in Operation Union Street Rejuvenation, which aims to restore pride into Aberdeen’s main thoroughfare. The scheme will include a “deep clean”, whereby pavements, pedestrian areas, street furniture, and doorways will be power washed. The plans also mean re-paving, upgrading, removing and painting street furniture, bollards, railings and benches. We are delighted to be playing a major part in this development.

But, our projects don’t stop there – please navigate to our projects page to find out more about what we have been up to.


Adrian Watson

CEO Aberdeen Inspired

View the footfall figures in more detail