The High Line: New York's Agritectural Space

Demolishing buildings to make green space releases dust into the air andproduces huge amounts of waste - often it's more environmental to workwith what you've already got. New York's taking that route with itsplans to turn a stretch of Westside Manhattan elevated track, unused fornearly a quarter of a century, into an "agri-tectural" public openspace. It's like the Jetsons, only greener. Landscape architecture firmField Operations, together with Diller Scofidio + Renfro architects, hasbeen the winning design team from four finalists.

Though over 12,000 miles of railway track has been converted to parksand bike trails across the country, similar reuse of urban rails is anewer idea. The High Line uses an existing structure to turn industrialleftovers green, and the initial plan includes a beach and anamphitheater/cinema, all elevated three stories above street level. Theproject, scheduled to be completed by spring 2006, also opens a newpedestrian path between West 34th Street and the Meatpacking District,making travel by foot a much more pleasant option. With sustainability akey concept of the design, the High Line is being conceived as anorganic park that will change along with the growth of both plants andpublic usage.

We hope governmental and corporate cooperation will become an examplefor other cities looking for creative ways to open up green space.Similar conversions of elevated tracks have been made in Paris and are planned for Chicago, Philadelphia, and the Florida Keys. ::Friends of the High Line [by Kevin Kosbab]


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