Due to the recent redevelopment of the High Line and Hudson River Parks, great attention and excitement is heating up around the idea of linear parks. These spaces are particularly interesting in that they often augment or re-use existing infrastructure of different scales and types, like railroad tracks, canals, natural waterways, highways, and arterial roads. This often has long-standing economic, social and environmental implications.
Designers of Hudson River Park and the High Line took areas that had been at the heart of the city’s manufacturing-based economy and retrofitted them to serve as nodes for recreation, a form of “soft” infrastructure for the city, making it more attractive to new information-economy workers. Linear parks are also unique in that they do not just turn underused paths into pedestrian-friendly green space, but they also serve as great catalysts for change and investment in large stretches of the city, benefiting multiple neighborhoods along their routes.