The High Line: New York's Agritectural Space


Demolishing buildings to make green space releases dust into the air and
produces huge amounts of waste - often it's more environmental to work
with what you've already got. New York's taking that route with its
plans to turn a stretch of Westside Manhattan elevated track, unused for
nearly a quarter of a century, into an "agri-tectural" public open
space. It's like the Jetsons, only greener. Landscape architecture firm
Field Operations, together with Diller Scofidio + Renfro architects, has
been the winning design team from four finalists.

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

We hope governmental and corporate cooperation will become an example
for 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]