High Line to High Lane

As Phase 3 of New York’s High Line gets underway with amazing designs revealed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro working in conjunction with James Corner, Sydney may well be about to follow suit.

Plans to pull down the now defunct Monorail to make way for the redevelopment of Darling Harbour have been shelved for the time being. Australian landscape architect, David Vago of Habitation has proposed a transformation of the rail into an elevated walkway and cycleway which would run 3.6 kilometres through the central business district.

Whilst not as large or grand as NY’s High Line it is a far more sustainable approach to urban redevelopment. The cost to remove the steel structure is estimated at $10-$15 million AUD compared to just $5 million to redesign. Not only will it provide an oasis to walkers, joggers, cyclists etc. but the stations will be redeveloped into pocket parks, cafes and gallery spaces.

The current concern is whether it is wide enough to implement this successfully, but a 3-5 metre width deck over the existing tracks would surely be sufficient, and would only take 12-18 months to build, taking in the adjoining pylons which would become vertical gardens.

With the enormous cash injection that the expansion of Darling Harbour will provide, lets hope the NSW authorities can accommodate this green solution recognising it as eco tourist attraction.