The Camden Highline, a London project that plans to turn a disused stretch of railway viaduct into a new elevated park and walking route, was submitted for planning. The 1.2km route, 8 meters above ground, will connect Camden Gardens in the west to York Way in the east. The design was awarded to a team led by James Corner Field Operations, the practice behind the New York High Line, who will work with Kentish town-based vPPR Architects, London artist Hew Locke, community consultation organization Street Space and Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, among others.
The initiative, which was initiated by the local community and grew through a crowdfunding campaign, also takes into consideration the sustainable aspects, like the biodiversity of this urban environment. It aims to provide wildlife habitats for birds, insects, and animals. This will create a green highway, either linear or following the stepping stones principle to increase the mobility of wildlife through the city. Gardens and walkways will help support the active social life of these neighborhoods and will offer spaces for arts and cultural interventions, cultural activities, and play areas for children.
The first phase of the master plan spans from Camden Gardens to Royal College. Following the submission, the first phase is expected to start in 2025. This marks another milestone for the project that has been initiated and supported by the local community. The Camden Highliners have started coming together to improve Camden Gardens, using the project as an educational tool for volunteer-led workshops in local schools.
Camden Highline is a grassroots project that has been grown and nurtured by a vibrant community of local supporters. It has been amazing to watch it go from an idea backed by locals to now seeing it secure global attention and an award-winning design team, Camden, and indeed the whole of London will reap the social and economic rewards that this exceptional new park will bring. – Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council.
The Camden Highline is part of a greater public realm strategy, Camden Green Loop. The strategy aims to use pedestrian pathways to connect existing green spaces and Camden’s key landmarks. The charity supporting the project is now fundraising for construction. According to Camden Highline CEO Simon Pitkeathley, the real challenge is going to be rising the funds necessary to create something that will benefit not only local communities but the whole city of London.