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The High Line, an innovative promenade created on a disused elevated railway in Manhattan, is one of the world's most iconic new urban landmarks. Since the opening of its first section in 2009, this unique greenway has exceeded all expectations in terms of attracting visitors, investment, and property development to Manhattan's West Side. Frequently celebrated as a monument to community-led activism, adaptive re-use of urban infrastructure, and innovative ecological design, the High Line is being used as a model for numerous urban redevelopment plans proliferating worldwide.
Deconstructing the High Line is the first book to analyze the High Line from multiple perspectives, critically assessing its aesthetic, economic, ecological, symbolic, and social impacts. Including several essays by planners and architects directly involved in the High Line's design, this volume also brings together a diverse range of scholars from the fields of urban studies, geography, anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies. Together, they offer insights into the project's remarkable success, while also giving serious consideration to the critical charge that the High Line is "Disney World on the Hudson", a project that has merely greened, sanitized, and gentrified an urban neighborhood while displacing longstanding residents and businesses.
Deconstructing the High Line is not just for New Yorkers, but for anyone interested in larger issues of public space, neoliberal redevelopment, creative design practice, and urban renewal.
List of Figures and Tables
High Line Timeline
Introduction: From Elevated Railway to Urban Park
Brian Rosa and Christoph Lindner
Part I Envisioning the High Line
Chapter 1 Hunt’s Haunts
Chapter 2 Community Engagement, Equity, and the High Line
Chapter 3 Loving the High Line: Infrastructure, Architecture, and the Politics of Space in the Mediated City
Part II Gentrification and the Neoliberal City
Chapter 4 Parks for Profit: Public Space and Inequality in New York City
Chapter 5 Parks (In)Equity
Chapter 6 Retro-Walking New York
Part III Urban Political Ecologies
Chapter 7 The Garden on the Machine
Chapter 8 The Urban Sustainability Fix and the Rise of the Conservancy Park
Chapter 9 Of Success and Succession: A Queer Urban Ecology of the High Line
Darren J. Patrick
Part IV The High Line Effect
Chapter 10 A High Line for Queens: Celebrating Diversity or Displacing It?
Chapter 11 Programming Difference on Rotterdam’s Hofbogen
Chapter 12 Public Space and Terrain Vague on São Paulo’s Minhocão: The High Line in Translation
Notes on Contributors
Christoph Lindner is a professor and dean of architecture and allied arts at the University of Oregon in Eugene. His recent books include Imagining New York City: Literature, Urbanism, and the Visual Arts, as well as the edited volumes Global Garbage, Inert Cities, and Paris-Amsterdam Underground.
Brian Rosa is an assistant professor of urban studies (Queens College) and geography (The Graduate Center) at the City University of New York.
- Tom Baker
- Julian Brash
- Phil Birge-Liberman
- James Corner
- Scott Larson
- Christoph Lindner
- Kevin Loughran
- Nate Millington
- Darren Patrick
- Brian Rosa
- Danya Sherman
- Alan Smart
- Daan Wesselman
"Friends of the High Line has also been trying to make up for lost time, launching arts and jobs initiatives with residents of nearby public housing. Danya Sherman, former director of public programs, education, and community engagement for Friends of the High Line, details these efforts in her contribution to Deconstructing the High Line, a series of essays by academics, architects, and those involved in the making of the elevated park [...] Before the High Line proffered progressivism through its programming, other contributors to the book note, it cast cold, hard capitalism in concrete. In recent years, mountains of ink have been spilled about how the ills facing contemporary New York and cities around the globe have been exacerbated by the High Line's complicity [...] Other books about the High Line either don't engage these critiques or only do so through the eyes of Hammond and Friends of the High Line co-founder Josua David."
– The Village Voice
"Deconstructing the High Line is a timely, insightful, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary study that dares to critically examine the widely celebrated High Line from a variety of social, political, and cultural perspectives."
– Dora Apel, author of Beautiful Terrible Ruins: Detroit and the Anxiety of Decline
"At last! A smart book on the High Line that places it critically in both a local and a global frame! Since the High Line has quickly become a global pace maker among local place makers, this critical, multidimensional view is absolutely necessary to understand the political forces and aesthetic displacements that are reshaping our cities and our lives."
– Sharon Zukin, author of Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places