Studio Balcones Travels: Summer Intern- Jessica Zarowitz- is Off to Study Parks in the Sky!

 

Growing up on the east coast, I have always been interested in post-industrial landscapes and reclamation
techniques.  With the success of the High
Line – the Rails-to-Trails movement is certainly a hot topic, and I was recently awarded a grant to contrast and compare three abandoned railroad lines turned into parks: the Promenade Plantée in Paris, the High Line in New York City and the Reading Viaduct in Philadelphia!
This
idea stemmed from a google goose chase, like so many other things do these
days.  After stumbling upon information
on the Promenade Plantée I was surprised that I had never heard of this project,
after which the highly acclaimed High Line was modeled.  Dating back to 1859, The Promenade Plantée
was redesigned as a public space in 1988 and was
the only elevated park in the world until the first phase of the High Line was completed in 2010.
So far this summer, I’ve visited the two east coast
research projects.  In June, I traveled to New York (my home state) and to Philadelphia (a city near and dear to
Ilse and Jennifer).  In Philadelphia I met with folks from Studio Bryan Hanes, the firm currently working on the design
development of “the Spur” section of the Reading Viaduct.  The design process began in 2001, a result of
a grassroots community effort similar to that of the High Line, and will be
moving into the construction document phase later this year.  Check out Studio Bryan Hanes exciting preliminary design concepts for the Reading Viaduct Spur.

Today, the Paris and New York City
projects have become archetypes for how to rethink antiquated,
unused infrastructure.  These new parks have positively impacted their surrounding
neighborhoods through increased real estate development and outdoor
urban recreation, and have become catalysts for other parkway
and elevated rail development proposals like Philadelphia’s Reading Viaduct, the
Beltline in Atlanta, and the Bloomingdale Trail in Chicago.

Stay tuned for images from my trip to Paris this August!!

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