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Thank you for your interesting post about the High Line history Xinmin! I have always admired the eye New Yorkers have to identify which spaces are not working, and how they can transform them into public spaces that benefit their city. In fact, this city has several similar cases. I mentioned one example of this on a past post I did in December 2018, where they completely altered the original street design of the Flatiron Street, so it can be a shared and more pedestrian-friendly street.

Image 1: Before and After of Flatiron Shared Street, New York City. Source: NYC DOT

Like the High Line, there are as well other precedents of how this city, instead of demolishing their unused buildings, structures and spaces, finds the way to give them a new use as a public space that “creatively engage their industrial past” (Curbed Staff, 2012). For example, the Bronx’s Post-Industrial Concrete Plant Park, that once housed a concrete batch mix plant from the 1940s through 1987, with the support of community organizations and public agencies was transformed into a revitalised public park, “reintroducing the public to the site through organizing community festivals and leading hundreds of residents out on the Bronx River to canoe and kayak” (NYC Parks, 2019).

Image 2 and 3: Some of the current facilities the Bronx Concrete Plant Park offer: the waterfront promenade and chess tables. Source: Nathan Kensinger

This transformation also supposed the restoration of the riverbank that was polluted with trash and tires, allowing the development of water activities and a waterfront promenade, which shows how the city is slowly changing its attitude of having turned its back on waterways (Brake, 2008).

Image 4 and 5: Before and after of the riverbank. Source: Image 4-NYC Parks. Image 5- Nathan Kensinger

I think it is so fascinating for us, Urban Designers, to work with sites that have had such a strong former use, and how we can propose something new that reminisces its history.


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