Authors: Katie Rice, Eddie Hughes, Richard Laing and Gokay Deveci
This paper concerns the development of Aviemore, a village in the Highlands of Scotland, and the importance of considering a lost ‘town centre’. Aviemore evolved rapidly as an all-year tourism destination in the 1960s and 1970s, mainly through the construction of a planned tourism 'Centre'. The Centre itself consisted of a collection of buildings including an ice rink, swimming pool, various retail outlets, restaurants and hotels, and became a major focus for Scottish tourism during the following 20 years. The 'Centre' was located to one side of the older village, and was planned so as to avoid heavy traffic, with Aviemore itself located on one of the main north to south traffic routes, including a railway station. During the 1980s, the ‘Centre’ suffered from an economic downturn, due in part to a growth in overseas tourism, and was partly demolished during the 1990s. Recent investment to Aviemore and the village has seen a return of tourist activity and revenue to the area, with a particular emphasis on skiing, hillwalking and other outward-bound activities. However, the village is perceived to lack an identifiable town centre or focal point. The research methodology involved a mixed methods approach, including interviews with members of the public and the local community council, and data collection in the field. The study concludes that the village lacks a recognised or recognisable ‘town centre’, and argues that establishing this in future developments will be a crucial next step in re-establishing Aviemore as a village, in addition to offering tourism opportunities.
Keywords: Town centres; public engagement; planning; Aviemore; placemaking