Grant Proposal Case Study- New York High Line

On June 6th, 2009, New  York City officially opened up its highly anticipated and visionary “Midair Oasis”- The High Line (section 1). The mile-and-a-half-long elevated train track was built in the 1930s to lift freight trains 30 feet up the ground in order to improve dangerous train traffic on the ground level. The trains stopped running in 1980, and the elevated rail became home to all sorts of wild plants. In 1999, Friends of the High Line was formed in an effort to preserve the historical landmark when it was subjected to demolition. The group laid out frame work for High Line preservation and reuse and advocated for city support. In 2004, Friends of High Line teamed up with James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro to design the High Line Park.

The High Line Park runs through several neighborhoods such as the Meatpacking District and  West Chelsea. The greenery along the walkway includes species of plants that were inspired by the wild seeded landscape left after the trains stopped running. Simplistic yet modern recreation spaces are also incorporated in various spaces through out the stretched space. Public art is installed to enhance the recreation landscape and interaction between the park and the visitors. In the future, the park plans to include food service to make the visit more enjoyable and verify the functions of the park.

Ever since its opening, the High Line has attracted millions of visitors and has become a new green, and neighborhood friendly landmark. The reuse of modern industrial relic and turning it into functional and environmentally friendly park space is the perfect example of retrofitting. The High Line built upon existing architectural structure that combines the past and the present.

photo by Joel Sternfeld from the High Line Image Galleries

planting, image from the High Line Image Galleries

A much similar story to the High Line in Philadelphia is the Reading Viaduct. Over the years, various groups in the neighborhood and University from around the Philadelphia had made effort to follow the path of New York. There are talks about renovating the old viaduct to a green public space but none seems to gain enough momentum to leave the planning phase due to lack of consensus from the surrounding neighborhood.

Recently, a new project called Reading Viaduct Park – Philly’s Park In the Sky launched by Jamie Moffett seem to have taken renewed initiative to rebuild the viaduct. There was a presentation at the Flower Show to showcase the project. More information can be found on the link above. Like the page if you support the project!



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