Border[s]lines Between Isolation and Connection: The Disused Railway in Aberdeen

Cecilia Zecca*, Richard Laing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Abandoned railways allow an interpretation of urban borders by considering different scales of connection and separation. The former railway line in Aberdeen is used as a case study to explore how urban linear connections represent a defining linear space and may postulate a socio-spatial statement. The linearity of abandoned railways as an urban design issue is recognised as a characteristic of urban isolation and connection. The contemporary city is no longer a compact and homogeneous entity; its fragmentation and diversity make it prone to rapid transformation. The fragmentation represented by urban voids results from rapid urbanisation and new modes of transportation. Urban infrastructures, particularly railways, often necessitate redesign and are subject to relocation due to urban conditions. This relocation results in abandoned lines and, later, linear voids representing new micro-borders within a city. Focussing on an urban void and a residual form of a spatial condition that resulted from an abandoned railway line in Aberdeen, its potential role in connecting historically isolated and fragmented neighbourhoods are considered through three case studies of the successful transformation of abandoned railways. These are analysed to highlight the potential to develop a methodological approach to conscious urban reuse by addressing the challenges of planning and structuring specific design methods to create a network of connections and reinforce the importance of reactivating surrounding areas and places.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBorder Urbanism
Subtitle of host publicationTransdisciplinary Perspectives
EditorsQuazi Mahtab Zaman, Greg G. Hall
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783031066047
ISBN (Print)9783031066030, 9783031066061
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameThe Urban Book Series ((UBS))
ISSN (Print)2365-757X
ISSN (Electronic)2365-7588

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