Urban Ruins and the High Line Next Door

Chuck Wolfe suggests we all have the inspiration within us to envision how to remake our cities--from the conjecture of a Seattle restauranteur about Seattle's monorail to neighborhood examples of "we used this before, let's use it again".

As part of a continuing series in Crosscut, Wolfe uses the foil of New York's High Line linear park to explain the role of vestiges of times gone by, beginning with a recent lunchtime suggestion by Seattle restauranteur Tom Douglas.

Douglas's suggestion? Abandon and green Seattle's monorail tracks--in the spirit of the High Line-- and provide walkable restaurant destinations along the way.

Drawing from landscape essayist J.B. Jackson, as well as his own book, Wolfe references the role of leftover structures in cities, and how, according to Jackson, they inspire us "to restore the world around us to something like its former beauty." 

He notes other urban rails-to-trails examples--former land uses and infrastructure that have become, intentionally or otherwise, "eerily similar" to what transit and walkability advocates call for today. In merging former rail lines and current bike and pedestrian paths, these examples "illustrate firsthand Jackson's reasons for championing accessible, nostalgic vestiges of an urban past".

Wolfe concludes:

As Jackson noted, "Ruins provide the incentive for restoration, and for a return to origins." So too, they inspire Tom Douglas, and maybe you, to find your own "High Line.” Which is often just next door.

Full Story: Urban Ruins: Does Seattle need a High Line?

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!

Wear your city with style!

100% silk scarves feature detailed city maps. Choose from six cities with red or blue trim.
$55.00
Women's t-shirt with map of Los Angeles

City T-Shirts for the ladies!

Women's Supersoft CityFabric© Fashion Fit Tees. Now available in six different cities.
$24.00