As the new section of the High Line is set to open, Rybczynski says that landscape urbanists are readying to point to the site as the success story of their movement, a model for future town planning. Rybczynski thinks that is ill-advised.
"The High Line may be a landscaping project, but a good part of its success is due to its architectural setting, which, like the 12th Arrondissement, is crowded with interesting old and new buildings. The park courses through the meatpacking district and Chelsea, heavily populated, high-energy residential neighborhoods. Very few American cities - and Manhattan is the densest urban area in the country - can offer the same combination of history and density."
Rybczynski also points to the great expense of the project and other reasons why a High Line would likely not work out in a Des Moines or Phoenix.