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Jennette Mullaney

Great Museums has created a new documentary about the High Line, Elevated Thinking: The High Line in New York City. The piece details the remarkable transformation of the High Line and the people who made it possible.

Jennette Mullaney
High Line Co-Founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond accept the Vincent Scully PrizeHigh Line Co-Founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond accept the Vincent Scully Prize at Washington D.C.'s National Building Museum. Photo by Emily Clack Photography

On September 30, Friends of the High Line Co-Founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond were awarded the prestigious Vincent Scully Prize by the National Building Museum for their work in creating our park in the sky. Joshua and Robert were the fifteenth recipients of the prize, which recognizes exemplary scholarship, criticism, or practice in architecture, historic preservation, or urban design.

As part of the award ceremony, Joshua and Robert gave an original talk, "Harnessing Friction," in which they recall their efforts to create a new kind of public space in the High Line. During the speech, they explore the many qualities that make the High Line unique. "Generally, in a park you seek to escape the city," says Joshua. "The High Line was designed to celebrate its urban condition and the built environment that surrounds it," he adds. Below, view a video of speech, which also includes an opening tribute by last year's recipient – the Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger – and a question-and-answer session with Joshua and Robert.

There are many choice quotes from the ceremony, but perhaps the most inspiring comes from someone who was present only in spirit. Joshua and Robert conclude "Harnessing Friction" with a quote by the great urbanist Jane Jacobs, herself a winner of Vincent Scully Prize: "Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody only because, and only when, they are created by everybody."

Jennette Mullaney
Photo by Liz LigonFreshkills Park Administrator Eloise Hirsh spoke eloquently about the former-landfill turned oasis. "Like the High Line, it is a park of the 21st century," she said of Freshkills. Photo by Liz Ligon

How do we transform a once-notorious landfill into a beautiful New York City park?

On Monday, September 23, we hosted a discussion on the metamorphosis of Staten Island's Fresh Kills Landfill – once the largest landfill in the world – into Freshkills Park, a 2,200-acre oasis. James Corner of James Corner Field Operations and Eloise Hirsh of the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation spoke about the incredible changes they've been making to this site since the landfill closed in 2001.

James Corner Field Operations, the lead on the High Line's design team, is also leading the design of Freshkills Park. Corner discussed the unique challenges he's faced on this project, as well as the park's many idiosyncrasies. "If Freshkills is to be a living, and dynamic, and changing, and growing landscape, in a sense it never has a finished state," he remarked.

As the administrator of Freshkills Park, Hirsh has also witnessed the former landfill's about-face, and spoke eloquently of the site's transformation. "It is the most elegant testimony to the strength of nature that you can possibly imagine," said Hirsh. She also underscored the park's commitment to sustainability, describing their use of animal husbandry and green building.

Watch our full-length video of the talk below. For more images of the landfill-turned-park, see our recent photo essay.

Erika Harvey

The My High Line video series highlights the many uses of the High Line and the people who call it their own.

In this installment, meet Neftaly Garcia, a promising young educator who has worked in many capacities on the High Line’s public programs.

Join us after the jump to discover her High Line.

Jennette Mullaney
Majora Carter and Enrique PeñalosaMajora Carter and Enrique Peñalosa joined us for a lively panel discussion on equality in public spaces. “Parks were a means to an end, an end of empowerment, of joy,” said Carter, recalling her groundbreaking work in the South Bronx. Photo by Rowa Lee

Renowned urban strategists Enrique Peñalosa and Majora Carter joined us for a July 15 panel discussion on building and sustaining equality in public open space. The dynamic speakers left the audience energized and inspired—no easy feat during the throes of a heat wave.

“A good city should feel like a park,” said Enrique Peñalosa near the end of a powerful presentation. The former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, spoke passionately about the benefits that access to parks and other green places bring to a city’s inhabitants.

His sentiment was echoed by Majora Carter of MCG Consulting. The MacArthur “genius” Fellow and Peabody Award–winning broadcaster gave a galvanizing presentation on urban revitalization. "You don't have to move out of your neighborhood to live in a better one,” Carter told the audience.

Watch our full-length video of the talk below. Our media partner Next City provides additional coverage in “Looking for Equality in Public Spaces.”

Jennette Mullaney

On June 24, Paul Levy of Center City District and Leah Murphy of Interface Studio and Friends of the Rail Park came to the High Line to discuss the future of Philadelphia’s Reading Viaduct. To discover what’s in store for this former city rail line, view our full-length video of the event.

For more information on the Viaduct, see “Atop Its Predecessor, Laying Out Future Options for Philly’s Reading Viaduct” by our media partner Next City.

“Beyond the High Line: Transforming Philadelphia” is part of an ongoing series of free talks to educate and inspire conversation about the transformation of the country's out-of-use industrial infrastructure into public open space. Join us on Monday, September 23, for a discussion on Staten Island’s Fresh Kills—a former landfill that is being redesigned as a public park.

Kate Lindquist
Video still from our version of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" in honor of our outgoing Chief Operating Officer Melissa Fisher.

Yes, we know summer is over. And yes, we know we are late to the game. We just couldn't resist letting this opportunity pass us by. Recreating Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" with our staff at Friends of the High Line was the perfect send-off for Melissa Fisher, our outgoing Chief Operating Officer, who ends her 4.5-year tenure at the High Line next week.

Follow us after the jump to watch our fabulous version of the song. Be sure to watch out for the cameo by our always-inspiring Co-Founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond toward the middle of the video!

Kate Lindquist
High Line TalksPlans are in the works to turn New Orleans’ Lafitte Corridor into public open space. Photo by Jackson Hill Photography

Leaders and thinkers in Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and other cities are pioneering adaptive reuse projects, and they’re pointing to the High Line as an example of how to make it work.

Some call them copycat projects, but their approach is more nuanced. They are taking inspiration from the unique context and history in their own neighborhoods and finding ways to use it to their advantage as they reinvent and open old infrastructure and out-of-use spaces to the public.

You can find good examples of this type of creative thinking in New Orleans, where designers, grassroots organizations, and civic leaders are joining together to pursue new green adaptive reuse projects that coexist with water.

Follow us after to watch the video and view photos from a talk on the High Line earlier this month about the Crescent City.

Ashley Tickle
John Cage, installation view of One11 and 103, 1992. Photo: Austin Kennedy. Courtesy of Friends of the High Line and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York..

If you have visited the High Line this month, you may have noticed a new video projection in the semi-enclosed passageway on the High Line at West 14th Street.

The work is called One11 and 103, and it is a film-and-sound composition by John Cage – the legendary composer, writer, and artist. This year marks the 100th anniversary of his birth, and to commemorate the artist, High Line Art has partnered with Electronic Arts Intermix, the Chelsea-based nonprofit media arts center, to present his work at the High Line.

Cage’s instrumental compositions had a profound impact on post-war Western music. Follow us after the jump to learn more.

Kate Lindquist
Young volunteers painting a mural on the side of a commercial building in downtown Detroit. Photo by David Schalliol.

Long recognized as one of the country’s most challenged urban centers, Detroit is now undergoing an important renaissance, with new real estate investment, the return of local businesses from the suburbs, and a growing downtown office market. What role does public space play in the city’s revitalization?


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