The City of Dundee is undergoing a major transformation, with a £1billion pound re-vamp of its waterfront, the Victoria and Albert Museum development, plus new leisure facilities and the creation of more green spaces within the city centre.
Dundee is definitely a city on the up – but its reputation and perception has not always been so favourable.
Once famed for ‘jute, jam and journalism’ Scotland’s fourth largest city has had its fair share of social and economic problems when the industrial landscape changed. Sprawling poorly-planned housing estates on the outskirts of the city sprung up in the 60s and 70s with high unemployment and deprivation and sometimes made Dundee seem like Scotland’s forgotten city. Many people from other parts of the country would make jokes about the city, despite never visiting it.
However, and as a former resident I may be a little biased here, Dundee for me has always shown signs of potential greatness. The geographical location and stunning vista across the Tay is up there with the likes of San Francisco or Lisbon. The city is also officially the sunniest in Scotland, but for me, Dundee has one asset that has remained throughout its history – its people.
Dundonians are quietly proud. They tend not to shout about the greatness of their city. They generally don’t brag about themselves and are even slightly self-deprecating. If they don’t like you, they’ll tell you to your face, but there is a warmth and friendliness in the city which feels genuine.
Dundee is the only Scottish city left in the running for City of Culture 2017 and there has never been a more deserving candidate. Despite the financial crisis and problems of the past this city is working hard and striving to prove the critics wrong. Old sub-standard housing is being demolished. Industry such as IT and video gaming companies are flourishing as well as biomedical companies.
The arts are represented too, with Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA), Dundee Rep theatre and the McManus Galleries.
Dundee is a city with a bright, exciting future. Its reputation is changing and its perception is being enhanced. This is thanks to the vision of the local council, the investment of local businesses, the government, but above all – the people of Dundee.