The term urban renewal has been around for quite some time in this country and can mean a wide variety of things depending on who you talk to. Some feel that changing the physical landscape of an area alone fits the description, while others feel that focusing on creating jobs and supporting businesses that reside in that particular area is a closer fit. After experiencing the High Line in person, I think it’s both!
Urban renewal to me, means taking an area that needs improvement and creating a change that will improve the local economy, improve living conditions for the community members, and moves towards living more environmentally conscious.
Urban renewal to me means walking in Manhattan and seeing the stunning contrast of beautiful flowers against a billboard backdrop…
It means walking by a park keeper’s bicycle instead of a golf cart, seeing signs that remind us to protect the few plants we have growing in a city filled with concrete…
And being able to watch a river filled with industrial ports and a busy street in NYC all from a peaceful garden that seems to be floating above the hustle and bustle.
The High Line – which runs through the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen of NYC – is a prime example of what I’m talking about. What started as a railroad track that transported goods to and from a primarily industrial neighborhood has been built into a flourishing garden for community members and tourists to enjoy. Where else can you sit on a park bench that’s attached to a piece of history?
For years the tracks sat unused and grown over, and in 2002 the Friends of the High Line gained the city’s support in bringing them back to life. They now bring people to the area to experience the unusual landscape, provide an unbeatable setting for local businesses, and stand as a reminder for people that the beauty right in front of them is a reason enough to be living sustainably.
From the walls inside the park – “Tens of thousands of people have been a part of the High Line’s transformation. This park embodies their dedication to New York City and their desire to make something wonderful for future generations.”
Urban renewal at its finest!
What do you think about the High Line project? Does your community have an urban renewal project? Have you participated in making your community a better place for future generations to come?
Lightlife Team Member