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On New York's west side, an old elevated railway had become another blight on the neighborhood. With weeds and small trees sprouting aloft, it presented a strange environment to urban explorers who ventured aloft-- a riot of weeds sprouting among the rusting order of ties and rails.
After plans surfaced for demolishing the railway, two activists from the neighborhood, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, proposed turning the railway into an elevated greenway.
The final design called for preserving the feel of the former wild vegetation growing up through linear rails.
The High Line now includes space for cultural activities, benches, platforms for looking down on the city, and refreshments.
Here and there, the walkway goes from wide to narrow, divides into two pathways, and sometimes even has two levels.
There are trees, gardens, fountains, sculptures, and even an artificial wetland.
High above the street, noise levels are low. Elevation provides a unique perspective on the city.
You can look down onto streets...
...or enjoy sweeping perspectives of the skyline.
The first segment opened in 2009, and the second in 2011. A third segment is in planning.
Levels of crime are very low, and the walkway has spurred over 30 development projects in the City, worth $2 billion. Tourists come just to see the High Line.
For all these benefits, redeveloping the High Line cost less than demolishing it. The High Line is a splendid example of how to reinvent a city.
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Book about the community engagement and planning process that led to the High Line.