Motorways and urban paths are on the fast-track to green innovation

Motorways and urban paths are on the fast-track to green innovation

So much 21st-century landscape architecture is designed to compensate for 20th-century sins, it might as well be an industry slogan. Some of the worst offenders? Urban motorways. The pivot to cars in the last midcentury prioritised four-wheeled transport over the two-legged kind. Whizzing motorists through town alienated people from the centre, cutting off communities from their neighbours and often from the city’s raison d’etre: its water source. Among the lessons we learned was that burying blacktop would be costly, time-sucking and dangerous (say hello to Boston’s US$24 billion Big Dig).

 

Today’s practice of adapting, removing and ‘greening’ ill-conceived urban motorways is practically a genre in itself. Even neighbourhoods barely affected by vehicular traffic are having a go at this trend for injecting green pathways into urban districts – the new Tide elevated park in North Greenwich, London, resembles a repurposed overpass where there was none. As New York’s super popular High Line did for redeveloped elevated railway lines, these projects have done for their cause, using any means their governments will allow...

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