Elevated Parks: Case StudyPosted: April 19, 2011
With the recent trend of “greening” spaces, transforming something old and unwanted into something beautiful is one trend that will hopefully stick around. Seen in the railways of New Yorks Highline, a reclaimed railway turned park, the trend is growing in popularity. Among the Highline, many other cities such as Paris and Rotterdam in the Netherlands have taken the initiative to turn old grey spaces into flourishing, useful green spaces. This case study will explore two California based projects: Park 101 in Los Angeles and the Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco.
Both cities known for innovation, Los Angles and San Francisco have joined the new wave of urban greening to accommodate the many needs of their citizens.
Often referred to a “A Central Park in LA”, the proposed Park 101 system would offer a green space amidst on of the United States top polluted cities. The proposed idea for the park would transform the concrete ridden space and offer the functionality of the retail world LA loves with the green infrastructure and space humans crave. The Park 101 system would be a cap off of the 101 Freeway system would run over the top of the freeway. The new design would change the street design allowing for more space and functionality.
The Park 101 system would integrate usable space into various parts of the downtown location. The design also included adding spaces for retail usability. Park 1o1 would use currently underused space and renew the urban space so it is usable for the public. The space would also have a large parking space so citizens could park and leave their cars and walk throughout the downtown. Also mentioned in the design is a cafe area and a play area for children.
Although development for the park has not gone underway, the City of Los Angeles has involved many citizens in the planning stages as well as developers to construct the best plan of action for Park 101. Whether Park 101 will ever come into effect, the design and outline of the space is a good model for what can be done in other spaces and cities.
Similar to the idea of Park 101 is the Transbay Transit Center. Once a bustling train station serving as many as 26 million in the 1940s every year, the Transbay Transit Center lost its supreme usability after WW2 with the rise in popularity of the automobile. Parts of the station and the tracks were removed in order to reconstitute the facility as a bus terminal. Like many other large structures in an urban area, the facility no longer serves a great purpose in the community. Thanks to hopeful individuals, planners, and designers, spaces such as this may get a major face lift.
The proposed idea for the Transbay Transit Center included retrofitting the old, outdated building and turning it into a 4.5 acre elevated park. Below the park, a new high-speed transit and rail system would be installed to not only re-purpose a currently underused space but, to encourage the use of public transportation. The green landscape is a great way to give life to an unused space while cutting down heating and cooling costs. The green roof system is been proven effective in its ability to properly insulate a building and absorb heat when needed.
Although the Transbay Transit Center project is not yet underway, developers projected the finish date for 2017.
Both of the project serve as excellent design models for re-purposing an unused space and turning it in to something beautiful, functional, and enjoyable for the pubic.