The Paris Debate: Must Preservation Inhibit Urban Renewal?

La Samaritaine was once ’ most famous department store. Image © Wikipedia

What is the preservationist’s role in our modernizing world? According to Michael Allen of Next City, preservationists exist to ensure that redevelopment meets both cultural heritage and economic demands. Read his entire article, originally published on Next City, below.

The Atlanta BeltLine: From Student Thesis to Community Mobilizer

A parade passes through the Eastside Trail of the , completed in October 2012. Image © Christopher T. Martin

An abandoned twenty-two mile stretch of derelict railroad and industrial sites used to be a thorn in the Atlanta community’s side. But with one student’s thesis proposal to redevelop these areas into a sustainable network connecting 45 mixed-use neighborhoods, public concern has since turned into excitement. To learn more about the ambitious project, head over to The Atlantic Cities here.

The Beam / MVRDV and de Alzua+

Courtesy of

Development corporation ADIM Nord with MVRDV and de Alzua+ have been announced the winners of an competition in the French town of Villeneuve d’Ascq. Dubbed ‘The Beam’, the winning proposal will transform a cluster of disused parking lots and a former petrol station into a dense, pedestrianized haven, whose 15,000 square meters of offices, retail space and lodging will hover over the adjacent motorway as a icon of a larger urban regeneration effort for the town center.

More information on The Beam after the break…

A “High Line” Makeover for A Former Railroad in Philly?

The unused Reading Railroad, in .

From a park in a forgotten metro station to a human-sized “LEGO” bridge (see our post: The 4 Coolest “High Line” Inspired Projects), the massive success of New York City‘s High Line continues to inspire citizens across the globe to see their city’s forgotten spaces with new eyes – as opportunities for action.

The latest vision comes from a trio of plucky Landscape Architect Grads. Today, from 6-10 at Next American City‘s Storefront for Urban Innovation in Philadelphia, they’ll show what they would do with the unused, over-grown railroad (a.k.a the Reading Railroad, of Monopoly board fame) that at points dips under and peeks over the city.

The grads are hoping that the exhibit, called “Above, Below, Beyond: Futures for a Former Railroad,” will stir up debate and maybe even some action (which is highly likely, seeing as two other groups also have hopes for the spot, the Reading Viaduct Project and VIADUCTgreene). If you’re inspired but aren’t in Philly, you can contribute to their Kickstarter Campaign to help them offset exhibition costs (as of press time, they’re less than $2,000 short of their goal, with 5 days to go).

You can learn more about this project at the Above, Below, Beyond Web Site and Facebook Page

Temple University and UPenn Design Students share what they would do with the Reading Railroad.
View looking North from 12th and Vine on the Reading Railroad.

The 4 Coolest “High Line” Inspired Projects

LEGO Bridge by MEGX

New York City’s has been such a success – both as an project and a money-making tourist attraction – that it’s spawned quite a number of Copy Cats around the world (we found 18 19, listed after the break, but no doubt there’s many  more…). Many, however, are more yawn-inducing than awe-inspiring. The following four projects are notably awesome exceptions.

Find out which projects made the cut, after the break…