Building the Coolest Little CIty

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Dundee is a small city perched on the bank of the River Tay on the East coast of Scotand. I’ve always viewed Dundee as a vibrant place to live with lots of exciting changes which are developing the opportunities for those choosing to live in the city. I must admit I am a little biased, being Dundee born and bred myself, but I am also able to compare it to the likes of New York where I lived and studied for a year.

New York City itself is a constant hustle and bustle of movement and voices with echoing car horns bouncing off the high risers. I didn’t live directly in New York City but the impression I got there was so much going on that everyone was always in a rush and concerned about 10 different projects all at once. I will admit that New York has a lot of exciting projects on the go and many creative entrepreneurs but it all seems to get lost in the rush of the city. Much of New York is tourist based and the living quarters tight knit and squished into the linear streets. Each street is numbered and lettered almost as if each building is just a book sitting on a library shelf, numbered and ordered. The city doesn’t ‘feel’ creative.

After spending a year studying in the US I chose to come back to humble Dundee. I knew it was one of the best places to study design and I couldn’t miss the development of Dundee as a hub for design. The focus on bringing forward the creative talent of Dundee was hugely influenced by the introduction of the V and A Design Museum along the waterfront. This really brought media attention to the up and coming design stars of Dundee. This is what New York lacked, it allowed designers to slip into a crowd of thousands all rushing towards the same goal, therefore making design less noticeable. With Dundee being smaller it allows designers a bigger opportunity to share their ideas without being drowned out by the bigger firms.

Another stepping stone in building Dundee as a design focused city is the many emerging organizations which champion young designers and bring the creativity of Dundee to the public spotlight. Creative Dundee are at the forefront of this movement by hosting events such as ‘Pecha Kucha’ to promote design in the city. Much of the new design propelling Dundee forward is created by the people of Dundee for the people of Dundee. This is a concept which I am planning to bring into my own projects.

After all this development Dundee was voted the ‘coolest little city’ by GQ magazine. I would agree with this but I know that there is still so much more to come. Once the waterfront is complete the V and A will bring more attention nationally to Dundee as a city and truly make it a place for young creatives to grow and develop their practices.

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