Aberdeen eyes creation of ‘world class’ city center

Aberdeen Market

POTENTIAL designs for how Aberdeen city center streets could look as part of a new masterplan have been unveiled.

The designs include play areas, public art, event spaces, and more greenery in a bid to create a ‘world class’ city center which ‘respects and enhances’ Aberdeen’s ‘unique qualities and characteristics’ while ‘putting people at its heart’.

A consultation on the designs has been launched by Aberdeen City Council, with the city being split into eight areas with detailed plans for each. The areas are Union Street West, Belmont Quarter, Schoolhill and Upperkirkgate, Union Street East, West End, Union Street Central, Aberdeen Market, and Castlegate.

Union Street

As well as the online consultation, the designs will be available to view in an exhibition at the ground floor of the Bon Accord Shopping Centre, and there will also be sessions where design officers will be available to answer questions.

The detailed plans have been shaped by the results of a public consultation held last year as well as ‘extensive’ stakeholder engagement sessions over the last few months.

West End

Aberdeen City Council operational delivery convener, councillor Miranda Radley, said, “We want to ensure the city center is a thriving place to visit, work and live in by investing wisely and ensuring people have an opportunity to contribute to the proposed designs for the area. .

“The proposals would also encourage more people to make the shift to walking, cycling, or public transport as well as providing more opportunities to hold events, more green areas, more public art, and play areas for the city centre.

St Nicholas Street

“I would ask people to take part either by going along to the exhibition, the sessions with design officers, or through the online consultation.”

For the proposed designs for play areas, two specific places of focus are suggested in Castlegate and Union Terrace Gardens, and secondary and incidental play elements would also be introduced in other locations. The local authority said that play would focus on non-prescriptive elements and spaces that allow for imaginative, adventurous, and creative play while also promoting social interaction and learning.

The consultation also includes proposals for development of the public realm and artwork designs would include endeavoring to work with local artists to weave in meaningful, place-based art – both temporary and permanent. The council explained that artworks would celebrate the beauty and history of Aberdeen’s built environment as well as the success of events such as Spectra and NuArt festivals.

For the events spaces, the proposals include the opportunity to expand the city’s existing events capacity and be ambitious with the type, number, and scale of events the city can hold.

Within the extent of the planned public realm upgrades, the proposals also include ‘significant’ opportunity to ‘green’ the city through integration of trees, planters, and rain gardens. The local authority said this will play a key role in climate-proofing the city, supporting the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors, while also generally making the city more attractive and colorful.

The consultation also has information about traffic movement around the city center including proposed changes to some roads. The proposed changes are designed to avoid unnecessary traffic going through the city center and improve connections between the city center and the waterfront.

Within the city centre, the proposed changes would make it easier and safer for people to move around by walking, wheeling, cycling, and using public transport, and would result in a less polluted city center environment. The council said that access will still be possible to all properties, car parks and other destinations, however in some cases the routes that cars can take to get to these destinations would change.

The online consultation is available here.

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