Plans for an Aberdeen version of the New York High Line could be revived by a group of student architects.
Proposals for a north-east take on the Manhattan boardwalk – built on a two-kilometre stretch of former railway – were first suggested several years ago.
At the time business leaders claimed a raised walkway linking the city centre and the beach would help transform the region’s tourism industry.
Now students at Robert Gordon University’s Scott Sutherland School of Architecture are in the process of drawing up plans to revive the project.
Reaching out from the Castlegate towards the sea, the platform would be home to a raised garden – and could even be served by sustainable transport.
High Line takes ‘will and thought’
“If you walk through the back of the Castlegate you can see there is potential,” said course leader Neil Lamb.
“Behind Victoria Court there is a bridge, and a hole in the towers where you could have a high-level pedestrian route.
“You wouldn’t be dropping down and you wouldn’t be immersed in cars. You could walk through this garden all the way down to the beachfront.
“It could have some sort of sustainable transport system running on it.
“Looking at the topography of the area it is possible to do these things. It just takes a little more will and thought.”
The prospect of emulating New York was first floated by Opportunity North East (ONE) three years ago as part of a scheme to turn the region’s tourism sector into a billion-pound industry.
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, there is felt to be a greater need to revitalise the beach area.
ONE chief executive Jennifer Craw said: “Aberdeen’s seafront is one of its greatest assets.
“Creating an iconic and sustainable link between the city centre and beach could be transformational as Aberdeen evolves its environment for the future needs of residents, businesses and visitors.”
Boulton: ‘Nothing ruled out’
Local authority bosses have now indicated they would be willing to discuss the plans with students from RGU as they plan a “city for everyone”.
“The concept is really exciting,” said Marie Boulton, the council’s city centre masterplan lead.
“I never rule anything out until there are practicalities which say no, and it’s certainly worth looking at.
“I would be happy to explore anything. What we have to make sure is that it’s practical.
“I went down to RGU before the pandemic to look at some of their ideas for the beach and it is really interesting to see people’s minds working, and what kind of city they want to live in.
“We try to take lots of different viewpoints because we have to be a city for everyone.”