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Can Manhattan's High Line Be Replicated? Several Cities Are Trying

Every week, it seems, a different city is pitching its old steel rails as the “next” High Line.


Atlanta's Belt Line park

It’s the stuff of urban legends: Two guys with no community organizing or fundraising experience, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, save a 1.5-mile stretch of abandoned railway from demolition, and transform it into urban marvel known far beyond its home of Manhattan. Two stories above ground level and slicing through a forest of tall buildings on New York’s West Side, the High Line, as it’s called, isn't just a breathtaking “park in the sky.” It's spurred unprecedented economic growth in its surrounding neighborhood—in excess of $2 billion in new investment, according to city estimates.

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Sure, dense urban centers are efficient, but humans still need to find room for open space in the city. That's what made the High Line—a New York City park built atop an abandoned elevated rail line—such an exciting project. Now the High Line, which opened last summer, is set for an expansion, and what an incredible expansion it will be.

The current High Line park sits on a six-block stretch of converted rail tracks, from 14th Street to 20th Street. The expansion will extend the park to 30th street and includes a section with a transparent floor so people can see the rail structures below, a theater-like viewing deck that overlooks 26th street, and an elevated catwalk that runs though a lush grove of sumac trees.

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