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Manchester joins London in launching plans for New York-style High Line

A Victorian viaduct that brought coal to Manchester will be transformed into an “urban oasis”. London has similar ideas

An abandoned railway viaduct in Manchester will become an “urban oasis” inspired by the High Line in New York.

Unused since 1969, the Victorian grandeur of the Castlefield Viaduct has slowly faded with the passing of each soggy station. The tracks that once brought coal to the city have been overrun by brush. Meanwhile, many Mancun residents are demanding more green spaces.

This week his calls were answered when plans were announced to bring some Manhattan to Manchester. New York’s High Line has provided an inspiring model for urban regeneration since its opening in 2009. The 1.5-mile park has revived a disused railroad and many of the neighborhoods it passed through. Pre-pandemic, the park attracted around 8 million visitors a year.

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The National Trust hopes to accomplish a similar feat in Manchester by transform the Castlefield cast iron viaduct into a green space.

“Our ambition is to give more people the opportunity to enjoy the health and wellness benefits of green and nature-rich havens in this remarkable city heritage structure,” said Duncan Laird, director of urban places for the National Trust. . “This feels especially important in urban areas like Manchester, where more high-quality green space is needed. This project will also help bring people back to the city center and help local businesses recover. [from the pandemic]. “

The scheme is being designed by the firm Twelve Architects, and the first phase of the project is due to open in the summer of 2022. The public will then be consulted on future plans.

This is what the Castlefield Viaduct currently looks like. Credit: National Trust

Similar schemes are underway in London, where James Corner, the designer of New York’s High Line, has been hired to create something similar for Camden.

As his muse in Manhattan, the Camden Highline it would run along abandoned railway viaducts between Kings Cross and Camden for three-quarters of a mile. Local volunteers launched the project and a £ 35 million fundraiser was launched in February to make the dream come true.

“This innovative project has the potential to become a real asset to Camden and is a great example of a local community taking an idea and gaining support to make it happen,” said Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.

New York High Line

New York High Line is an inspiring template for urban regeneration. Credit: Beyond My Ken / Creative Commons

South of the river, another High Line-style project is being planned for Peckham. As in Camden, the Peckham Coal Line It started as a grassroots movement, and its future seems certain after it was included in the planning policy of the local government.

The project aims to transform a stretch of railway, along with an abandoned coal storage site, into an urban oasis navigating “Peckham’s contemporary chaos and industrial heritage.”

Main Image: The architect’s drawings show what the Manchester Viaduct might look like. Credit: Twelve Architects and Master Planners

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