Hidden in Plain Sight: Re-Appropriated Spaces

The projects depicted here re-use and re-appropriate public space, filling gaps in the built environment with parks, open areas, and pedestrian walkways.

Read Time: 1 minute

March 13, 2016, 1:00 PM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

High Line Crowds

Allison Meier / flickr

New York's High Line is only one example of the re-appropriation of heavy infrastructure and the spaces it leaves unfilled. This piece lists nine more projects: "What these types of retrofits mean for city dwellers: that any one of them has just as much a right to the use of their city's public space as do the large-scale, heavy-duty applications that previously had exclusive claim to it."

Ross Brady continues, "As for the designs of these new spaces, the evolution of this practice owes a lot to the theoretical emergence of landscape urbanism — that is, that a city should be defined by its open spaces and that its buildings should be understood as structures that simply occur around them." The projects reuse many kinds of spaces, and that reuse doesn't necessarily spell an end to original functions. Examples include:

  • Queens Plaza Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Project; Long Island City, NY
  • Times Square Reconstruction; New York City,  NY
  • Erie Street Plaza; Milwaukee, WI
  • Seattle Art Museum: Olympic Sculpture Park; Seattle, WA

Thursday, February 18, 2016 in Architizer


Redesigning Streets for Livability: A Global View

An excerpt from the introduction of the recent book, “Streets For All: 50 Strategies for Shaping Resilient Cities,” edited by Vinayak Bharne and Shyam Khandekar.

January 18, 2023 - Vinayak Bharne

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Aerial view of Bend, Oregon with river and old mill district

Bend Eliminates Parking Minimums

The city is complying with an Oregon state mandate that some cities have challenged in court.

January 20, 2023 - KTVZ

Pedestrians and people on bikes on Atlanta BeltLine multiuse trail

How To Prevent ‘Green Gentrification:’ Lessons from the BeltLine

For one author, the key is focusing on affordable housing from the start.

January 27 - The Conversation

View of stone-paved street with pedestrians and "Farmers Market" neon sign on left and old buildings on right in Seattle, Washington

Push and Pull: The Link Between Walkability and Affordability

The increased demand for walkable urban spaces could make them more and more exclusionary if cities don’t pursue policies to limit displacement and boost affordability.

January 27 - Smart Cities Dive

Rendering of freeway deck over Interstate 10 in El Paso

El Paso Freeway Cap Linked to Road Expansion

A deck reconnecting neighborhoods divided by the interstate is part of a controversial freeway expansion proposal.

January 27 - Smart Cities Dive