location: New York, NY, USA

year: 20092014

The High Line is a 1.5-mile long public park built on an abandoned elevated railroad stretching from the Meatpacking District to the Hudson Rail Yards in Manhattan. The High Line’s design is inspired by the melancholic, unruly beauty of the postindustrial ruin and accidental ecosystem that formed after years of neglect.

photo by Iwan Baan
photo by Iwan Baan

The linear park snakes through Manhattan oriented north-south in the first two sections, but in Phase III, the High Line takes a turn to the west at 30th Street towards the Hudson River, widening to offer an expansive view of the water as it circles around the new Hudson Yards development to terminate on 34th Street. Throughout the park's length, the design blends agriculture and architecture in a codified system called “agri-tecture” - combing together hardscape and softscape areas in changing proportions to create a pathless landscape where the public can meander in unscripted ways. The flexibility of the varied spaces, which provides for small or large programming, and single or group activities, has encouraged spontaneous events.  The park has accommodated both planned and unplanned dance, music, and theater performances.

photo by Iwan Baan
photo by Iwan Baan

The High Line presents a paradigm shift in the perception of civic space and its potential to catalyze change. Initially imagined to provide a modest boost to neighborhood economic growth optimistically attracting 400,000 visitors annually, the park exceeded expectations exponentially, drawing over seven million visitors last year. During it’s first five years, the High Line has emerged as e of the most popular destinations in New York and a landmark on the world tourist map.

photo by Iwan Baan
photo by Iwan Baan

The city’s initial project investment of $115 million has stimulated over $5 billion in urban development in the surrounding neighborhoods. The High Line has gone viral: local leaders across the globe have drawn inspiration from High Line’s innovative adaptive reuse of urban infrastructure. Cities worldwide (sixty-four at last count) have rushed to turn their obsolete infrastructure into linear public parks, aspiring to spur a revitalizing “High Line Effect” of their own.

type: public park
location: New York NY, USA
scale: 1.5 miglia
year: 2009-2014
architects: Diller Scofidio + Renfro
landscape architect: James Corner Field Operations
horticulturist: Piet Oudolf