Finding Public Space in the ‘Lowest’ of Places


For cities starved for public space, architects and urban planners have been looking to long-neglected structures as innovative solutions to create parks and squares.  

Like the highly successful High Line in New York City, where a long-unused rail line was repurposed into an elevated park, architects from around the world are exploring how to create dynamic public spaces in underutilized and sometimes unexpected locations.

In Edinburgh, Scotland, architecture firm Biomorphis proposed turning an elevated railway into the Leith Walk, which will be a park and pedestrian walkway. In Seville, Spain, J. Mayer H. architects transformed the Plaza de la Encarnación into Metropol Parasol, one of the world’s largest wooden structures, that also serves as a multifaceted public space. 

In New York City, designer James Ramsey of RAAD Studio is proposing to create the Lowline. Ramsey plans to turn the one-acre space, situated in the Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal, which has been untouched since its closing in 1948, into an underground park where trees and vegetation can grow and survive thanks to an intricate system of solar technology. Ramsey sat down with Blueprint, presented by CBRE, to talk about the Lowline and the technology behind it. 


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