Does the High Line Signify a New Era of Urban Design?
Illman, president of the Landscape Institute, whose recent High Line for London competition sought ideas for the city that "transcended the traditional idea of an urban park," revels in the attention that competition entries have received from the media, who not long ago were obsessed with the most recent addition to London's skyline. Says Illman: "it so refreshing to see mainstream media, not long ago in thrall to Renzo Piano's Shard, filling pages with ideas for green cycleways in the sky, a new "Lido Line" offering a swimmable commuter route along Regent's Canal and an urban garden in the old Mail Rail tunnels (The Post Office Railway) beneath Oxford Street."
Although London's new Olympic Park has been deemed a rousing success, Illman notes the city is "unlikely to see investment in public space on this scale again for a generation." She continues, "as with community-led projects such as the High Line, if green infrastructure is designed and managed to a high quality, it can give credibility to wider regeneration issues. In straitened times, the creative reuse of our existing landscapes and their architecture, might be our only option."