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aberdeen of the future

An interesting glimpse of the Aberdeen of the future was given last night by Councillor Henry Alexander when he addressed the Aberdeen Women Citizens' Association on various aspects of town planning. The widening of all the arterial roads leading out of the city, the allocation of separate areas for business and residential purposes, the provision of children's playing plots, and the preservation of natural beauty spots are among the things that the Aberdeen Town Planning Committee propose to take under their purview. Councillor Alexander congratulated the Association upon the interesting syllabus which they prepared for the winter session. It will include papers upon the housing question, house designing and the preservation of scenery and natural beauties. The subject of town planning was a suitable introduction to these more detailed problems because it embraced them all. In preparation of the scheme for the Aberdeen and district joint area, the Town Planning Committee were endeavouring to provide for all the factors which entered into the well-being of a largo community.

Great Arterial Roads The lecturer exhibited maps showing town planning schemes which had been prepared in cities in the south, and he then, by a series of lantern slides, indicated the character of the problems that had to be faced in the drafting of a scheme for the Aberdeen area. The roads were taken first, and figures submitted showing the great increase in motor traffic, there being now one motor vehicle for every thirty persons in the city of Aberdeen, and one motor vehicle for every fifteen persons in the county. The industrial and commercial industry of the city, said Mr Alexander, depends upon the rapid and easy flow of traffic, and it is hoped in the plan to provide for the widening of all the arterial roads leading out of the city, and their linking together by a series of concentric ring roads. It is hoped to reserve the necessary ground so that when improvements become necessary they may be effected without the heavy expenditure which has been involved hitherto in the acquisition of valuable property.

Zoning The next aspect of town planning was zoning, which meant the allocation of certain areas for business purposes, and other areas for residential purposes, to avoid the indiscriminate mixing of all kinds of buildings, which had taken place in the past, and which was often injurious to public health, destructive of amenity, and prejudicial to the value of property. It was quite impossible to foresee precisely how the town would develop, or where building would take place, but the Committee hoped to lay down the broad lines of zoning, and, in particular, to allocate certain areas for industrial purposes. These areas would be placed as near as possible to the docks and the railways, and it was hoped in this way to encourage the commercial expansion of the city. Similarly, other areas would be suggested for residential purposes.

Where Sun Never Enters In connection with this aspect of the subject slides were shown contrasting the older tenement streets of the city with the new and open streets at Hilton and Pittodrie. In the former the sun in winter never entered some of the houses because of the closeness of the buildings, whereas in the new housing schemes the buildings were so spaced to ensure that every house received sunlight, even at midwinter. The effect of this upon the next generation was bound to be very great indeed; and in this respect town planning also meant ultimate economy in the public health services. It was also pointed out that in the Council housing areas the Council had set apart 10 per cent. of the total area for children's playing plots and other open spaces. These playing plots and open spaces would never be built upon, but were dedicated for all time to the public use.

Natural Beauties Lastly, Mr Alexander turned to the question of nature reserves and general amenity, stating that it was hoped by arrangement with proprietors to secure the preservation of various large open spaces. These would not necessarily be made open to the public, because that was not what was aimed for in every case. Beautifully-wooded grounds, for instance, often gave great pleasure to the passer-by on a public road, and formed a valuable element in a landscape. What was in view was to arrange for the preservation of such woodlands, the proprietors continuing to enjoy them at present, but the amenity of the district being secured against forms of development, which had sometimes taken place to the detriment of the value of adjoining estates. It was also hoped to safeguard beautiful viewpoints, and so generally to maintain the natural landscape features in which Aberdeen was so rich, and which played their part no less than material factors in the well-being of the community. Mrs Traill presided, and at the close some questions were answered by the lecturer, who was cordially thanked for his paper. Before the lecture Miss Spence Allan gave an interesting account of the recent conference in Glasgow of the Scottish National Council of Women Citizens' Associations, which she attended as the representative of the Aberdeen Association.

Source: Aberdeen Press and Journal Tuesday December 3rd, 1929

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