The recent opening of NYC's newest greenspace, the Highline Urban Park, which sits atop an abandoned, elevated rail line, is an exemplary rehabilitation of derelict industrial infrastructure and, in my opinion, represents the new standard for reuse in an urban setting. The fact that the space occupies square footage above the conventional, street-level plane is yet another reason this project is so remarkable.
The mission and its concept are reported thoroughly at the leading sustainable design site inhabitat.com, so that's the place to see the Highline Urban Park project from all the nicest angles.
For those who want it and want it now, check out the video below to give a glimpse of what cities with a more modest profile (and even small towns) should be striving for in the coming years and decades.
Just because NYC is a mecca for creativity and innovation (or maybe it's the art of hype that makes New Yorkers the real pros), it absolutely does not mean that other places, tiny and not so, shouldn't be looking to do them one better. With or without a well-known architectural firm attached to the project, this example of inventive and considerate renovation could happen anywhere, not only in New York!
Our entire nation is littered with sites (literally) such as the Highline that, amidst weeds and broken bottles, are all but crying out to be transformed into gorgeous, open green space where people can feel human again whilst the vegetation thrives.
What real, sustainable, environmentally conscious urban planning requires is an ambitious, motivated, vocal citizenry to demand thoughtful progress, not in terms of economics or profit, but simply in terms of quality of life.