High Line Park, New York City

Can biodiversity and love of nature be promoted in the world’s densest urban areas?

The High Line is an elevated freight rail line transformed into a public park on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York, and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition. It is now the non-profit conservancy working with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to make sure the High Line is maintained as an extraordinary public space for all visitors to enjoy. The elevated rail line has been turned into one of the most innovative and inviting public spaces in New York City and perhaps the entire country. The black steel columns that once supported abandoned train tracks now hold up an elevated park—part promenade, part town square, part botanical garden.

Innovation and design, along with public support and political will were all key in transforming abandoned infrastructure into green infrastructure in a high density urban area. The park’s objectives encompass elements of art, design, recreation, education, and community. The park is sustainably managed and connects thousands of people to nature in a dense urban area each week.