The High Line is probably one of the best known urban reclamation projects in the world and it does have the advantage of cool art/concert projects produced in it’s behalf. It even has a portrait project and, shudder, a Facebook group. It is also a good model for seeing how large scale urban planning projects may be done.
It was one thing to assimilate the old elevated rail line into the Manhattan fabric but one huge question was what would happen to the Rail Yards, a large quasi abandoned space in lower Manhatten where the High Line trains turned around?
Development of the yards was an open competition and 5, count ‘em, 5 projects were selected to compete. And the High Line blog made sure people got an in depth look at what each company offered and what they were all about. Wouldn’t that just seem sooo luxurious in Montreal?
In fact Friends of The High Line ran a design competition in 2003 to publicize their cause and received 720 entries from 36 countries. Publicity can, indeed, be a good thing.
Of course none of this is perfect and developers have met the challenge of public process by submitting outrageous renderings designed to seduce all naysayers (Can you say Devimco?). This New York Times article takes a look at this trend.
There has been some cool art projects for school kids to get involved with such as “Chalk Shoes To The High Line”.
So it s not a perfect process and not everyone will be ecstatic but here in Montreal we are truly bush league (remember the Expos?) as our small town officials make back room agreements and then tell the public what’s good for them after all the principles have agreed.
And in Arizona they hold design competitions for suburban strip malls.