The Lowline, Dry Line, Underline, Goods Line, Peckham Coal Line… See a pattern emerging? For an industry that prides itself on creativity, the names of urban park design projects that came to our attention this year all felt a little familiar.
But there’s a bigger point at play here, beyond just a complete disregard for non-linear forms. All these urban parks draw – in name and in concept – on Manhattan’s High Line, looking to emulate its success.
This was the year of the High Line imitation game, where other cities around the world joined the linear park party.
The Lowline, New York
James Ramsey and Dan Barasch have dreamt about creating the world’s first underground park for a long time, specifically eyeing up the disused Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal in Manhattan. The project got a giant leap closer to reality this year with the opening of their test lab – a proof of concept in the blacked-out former Essex Street Market building. Since then, New York City bosses have begun inviting proposals for the pair’s desired subterranean site, opening up the possibility of it being transformed.
Dry Line, New York
The name for Bjarke Ingels’ waterfront park is fitting. A meandering, 10-mile landscape called the Dry Line covers the coast of Manhattan to protect the city from flooding brought about by devastating hurricanes. The $335 million project is now underway.
Peckham Coal Line, London
The crowdfunding project for ‘London’s answer to the High Line’ reached its £65,000 target in November, giving the pipedream some hope. Its organisers will now get started on a feasibility study to see if their idea of reviving a kilometre-long former coal sides has any legs.
The High Line’s designers James Corner Field Operations are taking their talents to Miami. This time round, though, they’re looking to create a park underneath a railway rather than on top of it. Plans for The Underline were revealed in November.
The Goods Line, Sydney
A High Line copycat opened in Sydney this September, taking over – you guessed it – a disused freight railway. Designed by landscape architects Aspect Studio and practice CHROFI, the Goods Line features an outdoor gym, ping-pong tables, an amphitheatre as well as study pods.
Corredor Cultural Chapultepec, Mexico City
Kudos to architect Fernando Romero’s linear park in Mexico City, which doesn’t actually have ‘Line’ in its name. In August, the founder of FR-EE revealed his designs for the 1.3 km-long park, which will be built over one of the city’s busiest city centre roads.
Under Gardiner, Toronto
City officials in Toronto haven’t yet succumbed to naming their urban park after the High Line – but that’s more because the project doesn’t have an official moniker yet. Urban designer Ken Greenberg and landscape architects Public Work have designed a mile-long public trail below the city’s Gardiner Expressway. We’ll report back when we discover its name.
Green Line, New York
As if the High Line, Dry Line and Underline weren’t enough, Perkins Eastman Architects have dreamt up another ambitious scheme for New York City. Their concept involves creating a linear park stretching for 40 blocks of Broadway in Lower Manhattan.