Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Advertisement: Click here to learn how to Generate Art From Text

The rail bridge is derelict and stretches across the busy street of north London. Green foliage peeks out from the gaps between the beams above, where bright blue paint flakes from rusting metal.

Farther east, the railway’s grand Victorian-era arches span a small slice of park wedged between two streets, where tents belonging to homeless people, a discarded mattress and broken bottles are scattered about.

While the elevated rail line and some of its surrounding areas may look neglected right now, if the plan goes as planned, it will become home to the Camden Highline. This is a planned public space that aims to transform this disused section of the city into an thriving green area.

“They’re all unloved bits of Camden,” said Simon Pitkeathley, the chief executive of Camden Town Unlimited, The Business Improvement DistrictBehind the initiative are the areas that, one day, will provide the ground-level entryways to the Highline.

London can be seen from a new perspective by strolling along the path of the planned park. It will sit 25 feet above street level. The air is cleaner and the noise of the city below has faded away.

The Camden Highline project’s backers, who are estimated to have spent 35 million pounds (about $44.5 million) on the project, hope that it will become a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike, bringing in much-needed foot traffic.

The London line will intentionally echo the New York line, which has been hugely successful.

It too harnesses a rail that has been unused for decades. In the case of the Camden Line, this was around 30 years.

Mr. Pitkeathley showed me a brick arched that will have a sleek stairway rising through it to bring visitors to the elevated Park. Londoners are shown in design drawings walking along leafy pathways, past wildflowers gardens and viewing platforms to admire the streetscapes.

The Camden Highline’s planned width varies greatly along its route, expanding more than 65 feet in some areas that used to be full station platforms, while shrinking to under 10 feet in other sections.

The project’s design team was headed by James Corner Field Operations was the architect of the New York High Line.Working with other designers and social enterprises in London, we consulted residents about their visions for the park.

So while the links to the original High Line are clear — and hopes for the same success are front of mind — the design is adapted to serve the neighborhood where it sits, Mr. Pitkeathley said.

There are several differences. One is that there is a train line that runs directly next to the site where the park will be built.

Mr. Pitkeathley stated that the area surrounding the green space is largely public land with affordable housing. This means that both wealthy and lower-income Londoners can benefit from the proximity to the new greenspace.

Londoners and visitors will have to wait some time before they can enjoy this park.

The first section of the project, which runs from Camden Gardens to Royal College Street, was approved in January 2023.

He said that construction would not begin until 2025. The Highline’s first section is expected to be completed in 2027. Two more sections are still many years away.

Mr. Pitkeathley has declined to reveal the amount of money that remains to be raised.

But when the entire project is completed, it will wend its way for three-quarters of a mile east from Camden Town, already a popular destination, to King’s Cross, a transport hub and the site of another urban regeneration project.

National Trust and other conservation groups have already praised the plan for the Camden Highline, including Sadiq Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour Party, and Keir Khan, London’s mayor. The planning team has focused on the opinions of local residents.

Lyn Walls (57) lives in the Maiden Lane Estate. This is a mixed-use residential complex that includes both public and private housing. It is located adjacent to the area where the easternmost part of the new park eventually will be built. For now, her only connection to the area to the west of her home is a badly lit, graffiti-covered path.

She said that the Camden Highline would eventually provide a walking link to the communities to her west. For now, Ms. Walls usually “takes the long way around” when walking there, she said, because of a secluded passageway that currently links the two areas.

“Going that way just isn’t appealing — it needs more lighting and just more people using it,” she said. The Highline, she added, “will make such a difference.”

On a recent afternoon in winter, she walked her dog with two of her grandchildren and her son-in-law on an enclosed basketball court located at the complex. There are a few green spaces in the area but Ms. Walls said adding the Highline to the area would provide much-needed park space.

At a cafe at the western end of the Highline’s route, Kiran Duggal, 25, and Barnaby Fishwick, 20, sipped coffee in the sun of a mild winter afternoon.

The friends, who both work in a nearby pub, were both excited by the possibility of more walking paths and green space.

“That will make life so much easier,” said Ms. Duggal, who lamented the lack of a good walkable route connecting the eastern and western parts of this area of London.

“Around north London, there are just so many dead sites,” Mr. Fishwick said, adding that he was eager for to see the new park come to life. “I do just love a good stroll.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *