Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Look @ NY's High Line

One of the highlights of my NY trip was seeing the High Line close up.

While I'm a big fan of the so called "new urbanism" and it's interest in defending the age old interface of street design that has worked for thousands of years; I also always thought that new innovative design concepts and interfaces in cities did not always have to mean the destruction of the city's history, street life or human scale.

The High Line shows how coincidence and sensitivity can lead people to see a new use for something considered worthless. A lot of New Yorker's favored the creation of a large waterfront NY park, while other's including myself saw the value of weaving the area back into the fabric of the city, through more residential and mixed use development. Few realised that an awesome interesting natural park had been forming for years on an abandoned stretch of rail that threaded through the neighborhood which might offer the best of both worlds.

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Some more videos on the High Line's history which shows the natural state only a brave few broke in to see.

Obviously, Pittsburgh is not New York and the perfect storm of pent up real estate market, prime location and all star support that made what one sees here happen isn't here.

However--- stunning spaces and good designs can create big support quickly. I'm sure most of the High Line's original big supporters thought the idea was crazy-- until they saw and experienced the space themselves.

Some more photos. The project is being done in stages with only the section fron 13th to 19th St open.

Just to set the scene here-- You are in a [park which is above the streets and walking through and under buildings. Pretty amazing.

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