Cities + Parks =Economic Development

Cities are made livable by their parks and open spaces. Known as one of the densest cities in the world, New York City is famed for its grand Central Park, which is skirted by some of the most expensive real estate on the planet.  A lesser known park project in NYC, the Highline has had a similar impact on the value of the land surrounding it.  The Highline was a raised rail line running into lower Manhattan, built during the 1930’s. Abandoned in the 1960’s, the Highline lay dormant for more than 40 years, until the community organized “Friends of the Highline” to convert the raised rail corridor into a long, linear, neighborhood park. The first phase of the Highline opened in 2008, and has been wildly successful in improving the neighborhoods that it runs through.

With Phase 2 of the Highline opening on June 8, 2011, a New York Times article focuses on how the Highline has been an economic development tool for the city, improving a once down-trodden neighborhood:

“Preserving the High Line as a public park revitalized a swath of the city and generated $2 billion in private investment surrounding the park.

The mayor pointed to the deluxe apartment buildings whose glass walls press up against the High Line and the hundreds of art galleries, restaurants and boutiques it overlooks. All of that commerce more than makes up for the $115 million the city has spent on the park and the deals it has made to encourage developers to build along the High Line without blocking out the sun, Mr. Bloomberg said. On top of the 8,000 construction jobs those projects required, the redevelopment has added about 12,000 jobs in the area, the mayor said.

Indeed, what started out as a community-based campaign to convert an eyesore into an asset evolved into one of the most successful economic-development projects of the mayor’s nine years in office.”

Follow the links below for more images of the Highline

Highline Slideshow

New York Times Article

The Highline official website