New York was revitalised by the Excessive Line, a ribbon of parkland floating above Manhattan on a disused elevated railway that has develop into one of many metropolis’s greatest vacationer sights.
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 operating from Camden to Kings Cross, which he believes will give London an analogous enhance 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 tasks just like the Excessive Line,” Nook stated.
“In some methods it is a very comparable mission, a really constructive feelgood funding to assist London come out of all of the destructive vibes of the previous couple of years.”
Not 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 in the course of the pandemic.
Initiatives just like the Camden Highline are an important a part of reversing that development, Nook informed the Observer.
“When cities begin to stagnate, they will go downhill actually quick. This mission is one thing that’s catalysing and revitalising, preserving Camden alive as a spot.
“When you’ve got the chance to dwell in a metropolis that’s obtained nice parks and gardens and excessive traces and canals and issues that convey folks 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 folks say ‘I wish to dwell in London’.”
Calling it the Hanging Gardens of Camden City may increase unrealistic expectations, and the primary designs won’t be seen for a lot of months, however Nook anticipates plenty of greenery with “a palpable sense of nature – birds and butterflies” in addition to locations to fulfill and picnic.
His agency, James Nook Subject Operations, was chosen after a contest involving 75 bids in what has been an unusually community-led course of.
The thought 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 is likely to be appropriate for a linear park.
One already exists a bit of 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 thought was picked up by the Kentish Towner, a neighborhood newspaper, then adopted by Camden City Limitless (CTU), which represents companies within the borough.
The route runs alongside observe used for the overground North London Line, beginning within the west at Camden Gardens, going previous Camden Street 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 start out the ball rolling.
The following stage shall 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 mission to price about £35m and open in about three years.
“We’d like to verify it grows from the underside up,” he stated, including that connecting Camden City to Kings Cross would assist the economic system and hopefully develop into a vacationer attraction.
“I hope one of many causes it will likely 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 practice 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 stress 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 stated. “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.”