It is easy to take for granted the things you grow accustomed to, but ever since the initial idea of revitalizing the High Line began sprouting up, New Yorkers have been taking full advantage of the project and loving every second spent strolling, relaxing and gazing at the West Side’s newest addition. The project has truly piqued locals and tourists’ interests as the elevated promenade is enjoyed as much today as it was on opening day over a year ago. With such success, it is no surprise, as Kate Taylor reported for the New York Times, that the small office of the Friends of the High Line has received countless calls asking how their cities can also enjoy the High Line effect.
After seeing New York’s success, cities across the United States, such as Jersey City, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Chicago, are interested in transforming their deteriorating infrastructure into new public spaces. “There’s a nice healthy competition between big American cities,” Ben Helphand, who is pushing to create a park on a defunct rail line in Chicago told Kate Taylor for the New York Times. “That this has been done in New York puts the onus on us to do it ourselves and to give it a Chicago stamp.” But the High Line’s influence has also attracted international cities’ attention. Developers from Hong Kong, Jerusalem, Rotterdam and Singapore have been either in contact with Field Operations or have been scouting out the Gansevoort structure, observing and analyzing the bustling park. Since the park’s opening, the project has further activated the growing area of the Meat Packing District. Plus, the park fits in nicely with its new architectural neighbors designed by Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel, and the soon to be Whitney Museum extension by Renzo Piano. The High Line’s success has restored confidence in urban renewal projects and as the years progress, it will be exciting to see other cities’ variations of the project. In almost every urban context, there’s an under-used section just waiting to be restored to its original luster or re-conceived as something entirely new. Either way, the idea of reviving any portion of these cities will result in a great variety of projects that will capture each city’s esence and character a little bit differently.