Manhattan makeover for London with floating green walkway plan | UK news

New York was revitalised by the Excessive Line, a ribbon of parkland floating above Manhattan on a disused elevated railway that has turn out to be one of many metropolis’s largest vacationer points of interest.

Now the Excessive Line’s designer hopes to offer London its personal inexperienced thread, after being chosen to create the Camden Highline.

James Nook was picked final week because the lead architect for the construction, a linear park on three-quarters of a mile of railway viaducts working from Camden to Kings Cross, which he believes will give London the same increase after the trials of Covid and Brexit.

“In New York they struggled for years to get political curiosity and funding and it was solely after 9/11 that they invested in initiatives just like the Excessive Line,” Nook mentioned.

“In some methods this can be a very related challenge, a really constructive feelgood funding to assist London come out of all of the damaging vibes of the previous couple of years.”

No less than 700,000 foreign-born residents left London within the 12 months as much as September 2020, in accordance with the Financial Statistics Centre of Excellence, and uncounted others have been staying with household exterior the capital through the pandemic.

Initiatives just like the Camden Highline are a vital a part of reversing that pattern, Nook informed the Observer.

Highline graphic

“When cities begin to stagnate, they’ll go downhill actually quick. This challenge is one thing that’s catalysing and revitalising, holding Camden alive as a spot.

“If in case you have the chance to stay in a metropolis that’s received nice parks and gardens and excessive traces and canals and issues that carry individuals out of a weekend, it’s simply cool – it’s one thing you wish to be a part of. You want the magic that makes individuals say ‘I wish to stay in London’.”

Calling it the Hanging Gardens of Camden City would possibly elevate unrealistic expectations, and the primary designs is not going to be seen for a lot of months, however Nook anticipates a number of greenery with “a palpable sense of nature – birds and butterflies” in addition to locations to fulfill and picnic.

His agency, James Nook Discipline Operations, was chosen after a contest involving 75 bids in what has been an unusually community-led course of.

The concept of a London highline was first mooted by Oliver O’Brien, a geography researcher at College Faculty London, who was contemplating which elements of the capital could be appropriate for a linear park.

One already exists slightly additional north of Camden – the Parkland Stroll, a nature reserve created out of a former railway line from Finsbury Park to Highgate in 1984. The primary floating parkland on a former viaduct was the Promenade Plantée in Paris.

O’Brien’s concept was picked up by the Kentish Towner, an area newspaper, then adopted by Camden City Limitless (CTU), which represents companies within the borough.

The route runs alongside monitor used for the overground North London Line, beginning within the west at Camden Gardens, going previous Camden Highway station and on to York Approach at Kings Cross.

After prolonged feasibility research, CTU started conducting strolling excursions beneath the railway, and gathered greater than 1,000 crowdfunders to begin the ball rolling.

The following stage will likely be to canvass extra native views, then submit plans to Camden council in about 18 months’ time. CTU’s chief government, Simon Pitkeathley, expects the challenge to value about £35m and open in about three years.

“We’d like to verify it grows from the underside up,” he mentioned, including that connecting Camden City to Kings Cross would assist the economic system and hopefully turn out to be a vacationer attraction.

“I hope one of many causes it is going to be used is as a result of it’s stunning. The truth that you’re going to have the ability to get off an overground prepare straight onto the Highline will add to its usefulness and encourage regular use in addition to guests. However you need each.”

Nook was eager to emphasize that the Camden Highline can have a unique character from that of its New York counterpart.

The New York Excessive Line is surrounded by skyscrapers, but has an open vista. Camden’s buildings are low rise, and the park will run alongside a working railway, so wants a wall separating promenaders from locomotives.

“Camden has its personal dishevelled, edgy, eclectic really feel,” he mentioned. “It has its personal vibe and personal context that we wish to leverage and play on. It’s not New York, so this elevated stroll needs to be distinctive to Camden.”

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