The High Line

Project: The High Line
New York, New York
Public park on a 1.45-mile-long elevated rail structure

Year completed: 2009 (Section 1), 2011 (Section 2)

Project partners: Friends of the High Line, City of New York / Parks & Recreation, James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Project summary: Built on an abandoned elevated railway, the High Line is a linear park that has been carved out of New York City’s existing urban fabric. The High Line is currently one of two urban railroad viaducts converted to park space in the world (the other is the Promenade Plantée in Paris). Visitors reach the 30-foot-high park through intermittently located stairs, including a monumental and highly visible “slow stair” that permits users to fully experience the transition from the street through the existing steel structure and up to the new landscape. Elevators allow access for those unable to take the stairs. At the park level, the High Line features a mixture of landscaping elements, including plantings, viewing decks, innovative “peel-up” benches, water fountains, and recreational pathways. The project uses inventive design to encourage stair climbing, walking, and relaxation.

This project was made possible through partnerships between public partners and City agencies, including the NYC Department of City Planning, which used innovative zoning policy changes to enable successful development of the High Line.

Active Design Highlights:

1. Attractive linear paths with shifting landscaping elements and structural points of interest that inspire walking.

2. Amenities that support extended visits to the park, including benches, water fountains, food vendors, shaded areas, and restrooms.

3. Inviting staircases that encourage stair use.

Additional details are available here.

  • User Side Images Image 28
    Aerial view of the High Line: Photo Credit: Iwan Baan
  • User Side Images Image 27
    Amphitheater at the High Line; Photo Credit: Active Design Team
  • User Side Images Image 95
    Stairs at the High Line; Photo Credit: Skye Duncan
  • Parks that have paved trails are 26 times more likely to be used for physical activity than parks that lack paved trails.

  • Less than half of US children meet the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day.