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Scotland’s Towns Conference: Speakers in the spotlight

A stellar line-up of speakers inspired and informed as they took to the stage at Scotland’s Towns Conference..

Domestic and international experiences were to the fore as a sell-out attendance discussed ideas and initiatives which can help achieve the event’s theme of Delivering Towns For All.

And there was plenty of food for thought as the conference, held in partnership with Dundee City Council, included discussions about how new housing, public services, social, cultural and green spaces will play a critical part in the regeneration of town and city centres across Scotland, boosting the economy and helping people to live better locally.

We were delighted to welcome a range of expert speakers to address our audience and engage in fringe sessions which focused on ‘Thriving Places’, ‘Town Centre Living’, ‘People and Planet’ and ‘Enterprising Communities’.

Joe Fitzpatrick, Minister for Local Government Planning and Empowerment

Opening the conference, the Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning, outlined hopes for delivering better towns for all.

He reiterated the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting towns and town centres with their Place Base Investment Programme which is providing £140 million to local authorities over five years. 

The MInister also acknowledged the crucial role that Business Improvement Districts have to play in boosting local economies and the people who live and work in them. 

Councillor John Alexander, Leader Dundee City Council

Born and bred in Dundee, Councillor Alexander gave a passionate and inspiring presentation to attendees which outlined ambitious plans for the bext few years, and gave an insight into regenerative work being carried out across the city. 

He acknowledged that Dundee faces many challenges, but that he was determined to face these head on and work strategically with partners to create a more accessible, inclusive place to live, work and visit.

Blair Parkin, Chief Experience Development Officer, Eden Project

Blair Parkin gave an exciting update on the progress being made on the Eden Project site in Dundee, which sits behind the city’s famous port. Attendees were given an opportunity to see never-seen-before images of what the finished site will look like, and how the team behind the project are determined to create a more inclusive, interconnected city region.

Rob Dickson, Director of Industry and Destination Development, Visit Scotland

The crucial role that tourism plays in Scotland’s economy was brought into sharp focus by Rob Dickson, who highlighted the need for sustainable growth of the visitor economy in order to protect future economic prospertiy for Scotland’s towns, and the people who live there all year round. 

David Martin, Joint Managing Director, M Worldwide

Harnessing digital to empower our towns and places was the focus of David Martin from M Worldwide, who are global experts in brand and experience who use strategic creativity to deliver high impact experiences across digital and physical places. 

Henry Jinman, Chief Executive Officer, Vicinity

As well as kindly sponsoring the drinks reception, Chief Exectuive Henry Jinman provided an introduction to Vicinity, a company still in its infancy, but already making a big impact.

Formed in October 2023 after the merger of LoyalFree and Solomon, attendees were given insight into the technology capabilities Vicinity offers to BIDs, Councils, DMOs and property owners through digital innovation and community building.