What is the secret to the High Line's success? Determined leadership? Public/private partnerships? According to Birnbaum, "What really happened there is, first and foremost, a triumph of historic preservation and design. And, it's a big win for design ingenuity over the more commonplace tabula rasa approach that results in bulldozed sites and the eradication of cultural narratives."
The park and surrounding area's success proves that development and preservation are not diametrically opposed. Citing examples from San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Tampa, and other locales, Birnbaum argues that, "a site-specific, adaptive reuse approach is a viable holistic alternative that embraces both change and continuity."
"Despites these successes, municipal officials and developers still blandly repackage the either/or scenario -- preserve or build anew -- to the detriment of extant, unique, regional expressions of landscape architecture and architecture that could otherwise be creatively reused (a more sustainable solution). Can't we measure success by recognizing that an authentic historic site -- which communicates a powerful sense of place -- can and should be sympathetically transformed? When did historic preservation values become such a negative?," implores Birnbaum.
Meanwhile, on our Interchange blog, Sam Hall Kaplan http://www.planetizen.com/node/57265" target="_blank">opines on why redevelopment a la the High Line may not be so desirable after all.