"A great deal of city center space lies vacant, but it needn't be that way."
That's the opinion of Sally Reaper, co-director of Look Again, Gray's School of Art's creative unit, in an op-ed in the Aberdeen Press and Journal.
With that in mind, Look Again and Culture Aberdeen have teamed up to transform empty shop units in Aberdeen's city center into temporary retail spaces, art installations, and pop-up shops, all supported by short-term leases.
"One of the biggest challenges small businesses face are start-up rates," Reaper writes.
"Rents are often too high, and the legalities too cumbersome.
If we are to move forward from this problem, locally or nationally, there has to be a change to the rateable value.
Only by investing in our creative communities and by developing sustainable, affordable city center living and workspaces can we provide small businesses and creatives with the opportunity to be present in our city centers."
To that end, Look Again and Culture Aberdeen are working with local creatives, freelance artists, and community groups to "recode the city center, so that community groups have a bigger role, and so that we can bring the area's soul back," Reaper said.
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Breathe Magic, an international program that incorporates specially adapted magic tricks and performance skills into therapy programs to improve physical and mental health outcomes for people of all ages, will be working or the benefit of children in Australia.