Reclaimed Spaces: West 8 Designs Botanic Bridge


all images via west 8

New York has its exciting High Line, Toronto has a very boring Belt Line park, many cities have railways turned into parks. Pruned shows us West 8's proposal for a 10.8 km long linear park in the Korean city of Gwangju. It will connect over twenty schools like a green serpent.

To cross the Gwangju stream, West 8 proposed a landmark, a botanic bridge, celebrating the Korean botanics, as a permanent landmark in the city.


The parabolic 35m high botanic bridge contains 24 concrete tree-pots, 4m in diameter, the largest being 7m high. This footbridge has no explicit circulation target. People can, but are not forced to climb the bridge, but the brave and adventurers will.

West 8 is good at challenging people; in Toronto they recently completed the Wave Deck (in partnership with DTAH) as part of the city's waterfront development. It is a gorgeous thing, but you know what happens if you do anything different: Somebody falls and then they sue.

Councillor Adam Vaughan is dismissive, noting in the Sun:

"nothing is risk-free" and individuals need to use their own judgement when it comes to using city infrastructure, whether it's the wave decks or playground structures in city parks, all of which he said are built to code.

"The reality is, you put a bike ring on the sidewalk, you can put 10 signs up but somebody might still walk into it," he said, adding he is sympathetic towards [victim] Thomas and his injuries. "(But) the city can't sign and make safe every piece of infrastructure, it's just impossible."

Sometimes, innovation and good design is a bit risky. If we are going to build better cities, it is sometimes a chance we have to take.

More on West 8:
West 8 Team Wins Governors Island

Tags: Toronto

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