After a recent visit to New York City’s High Line Park, I spent some time thinking about how communities could make similar transformative investments in public space. In fact, in Philadelphia, at the Callowhill Reading Viaduct, a community group is working to renovate an elevated rail line into a similar park.
The landscape design and beauty of the High Line have already been well documented, and many places do not have the resources to recreate the High Line. Recreating very similar interventions may be difficult, impossible, or forced in other places. The thinking and community visioning are possible everywhere though.
What communities can do is take a look at their community differently. For many years, the High Line was an abandoned elevated rail that blighted the community, and some explored demolishing the structure. Instead, a small group of visionaries saw a different future. Many communities have some overlooked space or white elephant property that can be re-imagined and turned into an asset. All it takes is creativity, vision, and hard work to implement the idea!