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A hole in the heart: A review of the contribution of the Denburn Valley within the city of Aberdeen.

Part 1 Dissertation 2004
Christine Bigg
Robert Gordon University UK
Inspiration, ingenuity and enlightenment are qualities that brought to life the development of Aberdeen in the 18th & 19th centuries. Today, as Aberdeen enters the new millennia the need for the rebirth of civic space at the heart of the city centre is apparent. Where the question lies, however is the viability of solution to the complexities of the current condition?

The basic aim of the study is to analyse, evaluate and document the architectural and spatial historical development of the Denburn Valley, with the view to analyse and discuss two of the recent proposals for regeneration of the open civic space.

The report takes the following form: -

Main aims, objectives and methodology.

Overview of the early development of Aberdeen. Location in Scotland. Overview of the city today – growth, oil industry, university, economy etc.

A river runs through it
The Denburn Valley – general history, source of burn, river course (rural & urban), archaeology & early rural settlements. The origins of the Corbie Heugh and Bleach green. Mutton Brae. A community forms.

Medieval origins - Modern city
Development of Belmont St, Union Street & Bridge,
Triple Kirks. Denburn Railway & road.

The Urban West Bank
The westward expansion and the development of Union Terrace. The new town-(brief note of comparison with Edinburgh). Union Terrace Gardens.

Civic Pride
Rosemount Viaduct, education, salvation & damnation. Widening of Union Terrace, decoration, balustrades, archways and statues.

A Hole in the Heart
A brief analysis of the condition of the site currently. Topography, Pedestrian & vehicular flow, uses.

Urban Intervention
A comparison and contrast of the proposals of regeneration by Robert Gordon University and the City with relation to the history and present condition of the site.

Conclusion culmination of findings and answer to proposed question. Possibility of further study’s.

Christine Bigg

The Denburn Valley has come to be thought of somewhat of a problem site in the centre of the City of Aberdeen. Since its earliest day the Valley has been synonymous with the development of the City its culture and its urban form, however as successive layers have been added to the city, the Valley has became more and more isolated.
In her dissertation Christine dispassionately collects together the evidence required for a scholarly examination of its past and future using primary, secondary and tertiary research techniques to unlock the potential of this hidden place.

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