Re-imagining our cities for the 21st century
The success of New York’s High Line park has reinvigorated our imagination in the way we use existing landscapes and architecture in our cities.
Looking back on the story of New York’s High Line in 20 years time, I wonder if we’ll see it as having been the catalyst for a new era of design for our cities.
Having fallen in love with the structure of the old freight railway from the street, it was what High Line founder Robert Hammond saw when he got up on to the railway itself, that convinced him to try to save it. Here, running through the middle of Manhattan, was a mile and a half of wild flowers.
That was in 1999. Now, 12 years on, New York’s park in the sky attracted more than 3.7 million visitors last year, has generated $2bn-worth of private investment (£1.3bn) surrounding the park and is predicted to exceed $900m (£562m) in new tax revenues for the city over the next 20 years.
Such figures are not to be sniffed at. For what started out as a rescue attempt by two neighbourhood residents (Hammond and Joshua David) with no design background, no plan and no money, has created the city’s second most popular tourist attraction after the Museum of Modern Art. It is decisive evidence that it is increasingly the quality of our parks and public spaces, not the towering ambition of our skyline, that make our towns and cities stand out.”
Photo: Bootstrap Company’s Dalston Roof Park strived to push the borders on re-imagining space to create unconventional places.
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