Had a chance to visit Manhattan’s High Line yet? If not, we’ve got you covered: we’ve been keeping an eye on this conversion of a railroad trestle into a park since its opening in 2009. But that opening didn’t represent the completion of the High Line; it was more of a launch, with more envisioned as time and money permitted. Last year, developers completed the project’s second section, and, last week, they released plans for part three at the Rail Yards.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve dug into a number of projects that redeveloped outdated infrastructure into new recreational and green spaces, from Staten Island’s Freshkills Park (a former landfill) to Missouri’s Katy Trail (an old railroad line) to Germany’s Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord (a closed blast furnace works). The Germans clearly have a knack for this whole reclamation thing: two years after shuttering the legendary Tempelhof Airport in Berlin (the site of the 1948-49 Berlin airlift), city officials began discussing ways to reuse the land (which, according to The Local, is nearly as big as Central Park). Their broad plan: a park. Berliners, however, have taken it upon themselves to transform the space for bicyling, rollerblading, cooking out, and urban gardening.
A couple of years ago, when we were all a-flutter over the opening of Manhattan’s High Line park, we may have mentioned that other US cities were bouncing around similar plans (though I’m having trouble finding it!). Even out here in flyover country, the concept of converting Old North St. Louis’ Ironhorse Trestle into an elevated green space is (slowly) taking shape. But Philadelphia may well be the next city to implement such a development: according to The Philadelphia Daily News, “The city is in talks with Reading International Co. to take control of the larger section of the [Reading Viaduct],” and plans are going forward on another section already owned by the city’s transit agency.
Almost exactly two years ago, we took a look at the ambitious plans for turning Staten Island’s closed Fresh Kills landfill into a massive recreational complex and park that rivals Central Park. Those plans have moved forward in the interim, and the Land Art Generator Initiative is contributing to the development of Freshkills Park with a design competition for “site-specific public artwork” that also generates energy from renewable sources.
Off-grid battery packs for the developing world, a green tech playground, and more… this week’s green tech finds.
- Making solar cells from wind: Welsh solar cell maker G24 Innovations is preparing for the installation of a wind turbine at its Wentloog Environmental Centre in Cardiff in order to produce its renewable power systems with renewable power (at least partially). (via Treehugger)
- The off-grid battery pack: Start-up Fenix International rolled out its website and first product this week: the ReadySet, a “a 12-volt lead acid battery designed specifically for frequent charges from a variety of sources, including a solar panel, bicycle generator, the power grid, or eventually hydro and small-wind turbines.” The product is designed for use in areas of the developing world without access to power. See the video above for details. (via CNET Green Tech)
PAY & SIT: the private bench (HD) from Fabian Brunsing on Vimeo. Fabian Brunsing’s public art installation titled “Pay and Sit: the private bench” is the last sort of resting place you want to accidentally fall asleep on. The artist removes the park bench from the public space and privatizes whereby one must insert .50…
Turns out the High Line isn’t the only green space reclamation project going on in New York City: on Staten Island, the Department of Parks and Recreation, along with a host of other city and state agencies, is getting started on transforming the Fresh Kills landfill into a park. When completed in 2036, Freshkills Park “will be almost three times the size of Central Park and the largest park developed in New York City in over 100 years.”
If HIGH LINE STORIES has you searching out other innovative reclamation projects, you’re not limited to railroad easements, parking spaces, or even the United States. The closing of the Thyssen blast furnace works in Duisburg Meiderich, Germany, in 1985 led to some creative thinking on the part of the Duisburg City Council and other local leaders.