Urban Fold

Should Cities Be Looking for Their Own High Line?

At the recent ASLA Conference in San Diego, a panel of noted landscape architects discussed whether New York City's hit park The High Line is a replicable model for other cities.

The panel, also covered by Planetizen earlier in the week, included landscape architects Martha Schwartz, FASLA; Laurie Olin, FASLA; Charles Waldheim, chair of the landscape architecture department at Harvard University; and Maurice Cox, former mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia.

John King, urban design critic at the San Francisco Chronicle, asked the panel if every city should be seeking ways to repurpose their old infrastructure like The High Line does:

"Olin thinks that cities trying to copy the High Line just to bring in tourists will shoot themselves in the foot. 'People need to build cities for themselves. Paris was not built for tourists.' But he said Americans really need to learn to live in dense environments because, in effect, density becomes the key attraction. Waldheim agreed, adding that it should be about 'building communities first.' Cox seemed to offer something similar, arguing that 'every city already has a High Line' - it's usually a 'toxic brownfield site' but the issue is 'finding the uniqueness of that particular place, and using it fuel development.' The High Line was a product of citizen advocacy and action. 'It wasn't Mayor Bloomberg's idea. He opposed it, and didn't see it as a tourist draw. There are thousands of High Lines in America.'"

Much more coverage of the panel over at ASLA's blog, The Dirt.

Full Story: Is There a New American City?

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