New paradigm of Sustainable Design;

Analysis of the High Line Park in New York and Gyeongui line forest park in Seoul

 

Sustainable Design Research Paper (Individual)

Spring 2017, Course: Society, Nature, and Technology (Sustainable Design Required Course)

Professor Dr. Steven Moore, The University of Texas at Austin

 

 

Contemporary cities increasingly tended to be commercialization and privatization with development of Capitalism, and market power has been growing strongly. From these status, participatory of citizens has been decreasing about urban place. Probably museums and historic palaces became commercialized rather than open space.

Exclusive residential village significantly increase and commercial buildings are divided into luxury shopping center and small supermarket. The main characteristic of the postmodernism cities is an internal segment, which means that many spaces are not combining each other organically but being regional polarization following social hierarchy. With economic growth rapidly, the gap between society becomes bigger.

 

Postmodernism and new paradigm of sustainability

A sense of alienation might come from complicated cities. People have few interactions with others, while cities has been changing rapidly. For now, I think that we have to focus on making slow, sustainable, and livable city. Old infrastructure, industrial site could have an adaptive capacity for being changed into green public space. Original function is abandoned, but new uses are emerging. The use of abandoned buildings and site might be a new paradigm of sustainable design.

The High Line Park, successful sustainable project, stood for several decades as an abandoned industrial infrastructure due to the removal of the Port of New York. But after completion, it evaluated value that it offered a highly visible, symbolic opportunity for historic preservation through adaptive reuse.

 

Toward Heideggerian City

For the city sustainable, from the perspective of Dreyfus’ interpretation of Heidegger’s thinking, we should not deny serious problems from technology but be able to solve by appropriate action. Heidegger’s language, which dealt with distinction between technological understanding of being and technological devices, might be the essential key to make urban places sustainable and public health. Not just focusing on calculative thinking but conducting with meditative thinking, it would bring urban cities’ continuity out.

According to Heidegger, the place in urban fabric can be interpreted as the space with time that social memory would be able to occur. Especially, people recently have been used to putting a high value on their own place which was related to their experiences. The ‘place’ might be an individual room or open public space in urban city, which is relevant to enormous kinds of social relationship and natural environments.[1]

When the High Line Park opened to the public, crowds lined up for hours to have the elevated promenade experience. It became a hot item in New York City, especially in hot weather, the reclining benches on the sundeck are crowded. The High Line Park has significantly made it possible for Manhattan to walkable and ecological city. Its length is good enough to walk and run, also it gives people beautiful scenes which would be like flying between buildings.

 

[1] Kenneth Frampton, “On Reading Heidegger,” in Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture: An Anthology of Architectural Theory, 1965-1995, Kate Nesbitt, ed., (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996), 442-46.

 

Potential agency in the High Line Park

The movement to save the High Line started from iconic photographs taken by Joel Sternfeld in 2000, nine years before the park would open to the public. These images captured the wild beauty of the self-seeded landscape that grew along the tracks when the trains stopped running.

Since that time, photography has played a central role in telling the story of the High Line, from showcasing the park's dynamic and engaging public programs to celebrating the ever-changing colors and textures of the park's plants, and sharing the special everyday moments that visitors capture with friends and family.

There are numerous potential agency in this project. The first agency is the ‘Friends of High Line’ was founded by Joshua David and Robert Hammond, residents of the elevated railway, to advocate for the High Line’s preservation and reuse as public open space in 1999.[2] Without their initiative idea, it could not start or might be changed different way.

Main architects, planner, and policy makers were also agency, but in this project, neighborhoods had a major role in creating new public green space. For their physical and social health, the residents wanted to preserve the abandoned industrial infrastructure as a public space. Participatory idea of them enabled to convert the elevated railway into walkable and ecological space.

 

Figure        SEQ Figure \* ARABIC     1      . Abandoned industrial infrastructure, New York, courtesy of 'Friends of the High Line'.

Figure 1. Abandoned industrial infrastructure, New York, courtesy of 'Friends of the High Line'.

[2] “About the High Line,” accessed April 26, 2017, http://www.thehighline.org/about

 

Campbell’s triangle model and Hirt’s Pentagon proposal

In the Campbell’s article, “Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities? Urban planning and the contradictions of sustainable development”, he asserts that planners have to stand on considering environment protection, economic growth, and social justice appropriately.[3] Three axial conflicts have to be recognized to have relationships with each point.

Exploring the High Line Park with Campbell’s triangle model, it has positive effects on economic growth, natural environment, and social equity in center of New York city. In the perspective of economic values, there was controversy between demolition and conservation because the government had to decide what was more effective way for economic development. After completion, the plan of the High Line park had good impacts on economic growth significantly. With explosion of “starchitect” designed residential buildings and hotels, the massive development of Hudson Yards has been starting to emerge, and there was the imminent relocation of the Whitney Museum of American Art from the Upper East Side, all happening directly in the High Line’s shadow.[4] According to the economic report, economists anticipates that the commercial buildings adjacent to the High Line would receive an increase in value between six and thirteen percent. For an estimated cost of $100 million, the city would see $262 million in new revenues over the park’s first twenty years. At Robert Hammond’s 2011 presentation at the New School, he discussed the High Line’s “return on investment” in detail, stating that the High Line—in just two years—had produced $2 billion in new construction and $900 million in new tax revenues (McGeehan, 2011).[5]

For natural environment, the planners and designers chose self-seeded grass, trees, and other plants which grew naturally on the abandoned elevated rail tracks during the 25 years after the trains stopped running. The most interesting thing in this project’s planting system is that nearly half of the plant species planted on the High Line are native to the United States. Not changing the natural environment system, the High Line Park seems to be fitted in the city naturally. Ultimately, the High Line became a green infrastructure. It converted a piece of industrial infrastructure into a public green space. The High Line landscape functions essentially like a green roof. It absorbs carbon dioxide with greenery and emits oxygen into the city, which enables to reduce greenhouse effect.

Figure        SEQ Figure \* ARABIC     2      . Planting system is designed as adjusting in nature, photo by author.

Figure 2. Planting system is designed as adjusting in nature, photo by author.

[3] Campbell, Scott 1996. "Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities: Urban Planning and the Contradictions of Sustainable Development.” APA Journal (Summer): 466-82.
[4] “Starchitect,” last modified February 21, 2017, accessed April 28, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starchitect
[5] McGeehan, Patrick. 2011. “The High Line Isn’t Just a Sight to See; It’s Also an Economic Dynamo.” The New York Times, June 5, A18.

 

At the social equity edge of Campbell’s triangle, the High Line Park would be able to resolve the inequity of economic opportunity. The linear public park plays a major role in linking to adjacent retails, which promotes the social relationships between visitors and merchandisers. The phenomenon might help society to distribute economic benefits diversely.

In addition, it significantly plays an essential role in an art perspective and a public health (Hirt, 2016). Hirt demonstrates that planner’s triangle changed into pentagon including five vertexes: equity, economy, environment, health, and art. Looking into the point of art, tremendous art performances appeared at the linear park after completion. Not only art performances and exhibitions on the elevated park, I think that the park itself is recognized as having an aesthetic value.

 

Figure        SEQ Figure \* ARABIC     3      . Urban Theater in The HIgh Line Park, photo by author.

Figure 3. Urban Theater in The HIgh Line Park, photo by author.

The place produces appropriate spaces for art performances and exhibitions in Manhattan, and also promotes green public park with substantial planting design. The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew on the out-of-use elevated rail tracks during the 25 years after trains stopped running. It made the linear park not only natural environment but also walkable promenade for citizens in big city, New York. Green public space helps people walking and taking a rest, which impacts on not merely public health but social health. The park became an appropriate place for exercising and getting fresh air in complex city, it promotes the public health better. In the High Line park, the spaces have been positively changed into social market. The market places gather people naturally to communicate and interact each other in speechless city.

 

Figure        SEQ Figure \* ARABIC
    4      . Walkable space with green public park, photo by author.

Figure 4. Walkable space with green public park, photo by author.

highlinepark5.jpg

Globally interest in natural environment; Geongui line forest park in Seoul

In Globe, many countries have many policies related to improving natural environment. These alterations could be considered with Lewis Mumford’s notion; all aspects that can be observed, abstracted, measured are part of even organisms.[6] Furthermore, the trend that people focus on well-being and ecological design is specifically linked to Mumford’s idea; machines are just counterfeits of living organisms and the architect and community planner need to return from artificial and mechanical thinking to organic ideology for human.[7] Because we (especially architects and planners) have started to consider just one building as an organism that could affect to surroundings and the built environment. The High Line Park project has been giving positive impacts on other countries’ environmental policy.

Especially in Seoul, the Capital of South Korea, there are numerous projects which improve the quality of natural, social environment. For instance, Geongui line forest park recently completed creates public park, which looks like the High Line project.

Generally, urban parks have been considered places of welfare and public good that offer a variety of benefits to citizens. The urban parks have good effect on natural environment by alleviating the heat island effect and pollution, and also psychological perspectives such as restoration, satisfaction, and preference. In particular, recent studies of urban parks demonstrate various attempts to grasp the diverse changes, socially, economically, spatially, and culturally caused by the creation of urban parks.

In the past, the Gyeongui railway line linked between North Korea and South Korea. After the Korean War in 1950, the railroad adjacent to the DMZ was stopped running. Recently in Seoul, there are numerous efforts such as projects changing abandoned site into public parks. In particular, the park could be created when the Gyeongui railway line went partially underground. As part of the line was placed underground, the Gyeongui Line Forest Park was created above ground in its place.

Figure        SEQ Figure \* ARABIC     5      . Gyeongui Line Forest Park looks like the High Line Park in New York, courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government

Figure 5. Gyeongui Line Forest Park looks like the High Line Park in New York, courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government

 

[6] Lewis Mumford, The myth of the machine: the pentagon of power (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1970), 352.
[7] Lewis Mumford, “Technical Syncretism and Toward an Organic Ideology.” In, Rethinking Technology. (London: Routledge, 2007 [1934]), 59.

 

The park has become a popular green space and walkable place for local citizens. Fittingly for a space designed for public use, the park is very accessible, and has great facilities and multipurpose areas. It’s a unique place where Seoulites and tourists alike can enjoy urban culture and greenery at the same time. The revived Gyeongui Line Forest Park is a wonderful place for family outings, to hang out with friends or go on a date. For tourists, a trip here is also a great way to mix with locals. Walking through the park is a wonderful way to experience Seoul history.

The park has often been compared to New York’s famous Central Park. Many neighborhoods refer to this area as “Yeon-tral Park” because they perceived similarities between the two green spaces. Not only is this stretch of park beautiful with wide, green spaces, it also has many cafes and restaurants nearby. Additionally, there are interesting shops and art galleries that are fun to stop and browse in. Because this area has a high concentration of popular restaurants, Yeonnam-dong is a good place to embark on a gourmet tour of Seoul.

Figure 6. Gyeongui Line Forest Park is changed from abandoned railway, courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government.

 

Urban Resilience and Regenerative Design in two parks

The High Line park and Gyeongui line Forest park are similar in many ways: promoting economic benefits near the park, producing natural environment for neighborhoods, social equity like economic opportunity, improving aesthetic value, and public health.

Through these projects, two cities could get ‘bouncing forward’ idea for urban resilience. Adaptive reuse methods could change abandoned industrial infrastructure into green public space. Before completion, both the railways were wall between two sides. It was hard for people to connect and the railway interrupted sightseeing and economic growth.

 Visitors eat foods, take photographs, purchase artwork, and perhaps most remarkably, they occasionally sleep. The abandoned space could be changed into a special place. Those design strategies include community engagement, systems thinking, and respect for place.[8] New experiences in the public park help to improve city more sustainable, socio-ecological values. In addition, there are positive gentrification increasing the value of real estate near the new park. It makes walkable city, livable city, and green city again.

 

[8] Raymond J. Cole, Amy Oliver and John Robinson. 2013. "Regenerative design, socio-ecological systems and co-evolution." In, Building Research and Information 41 (2):237–47.

 

 

Bibliography

Campbell, Scott 1996. "Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities: Urban Planning and the Contradictions of Sustainable Development.” APA Journal (Summer): 466-82.

Cole, Raymond J; Amy Oliver and John Robinson. 2013. "Regenerative design, socio-ecological systems and co-evolution." In, Building Research and Information 41 (2):237–47.

Dooling, Sarah. 2015. “Novel Landscapes: Challenges and Opportunities for Educating Future Ecological Designers and Restoration Practitioners.” In, Ecological Restoration. 02/2015; 33(1):96-110. DOI:10.3368/er.33.1.96

Dreyfus, Hubert L. “Heidegger on Gaining a Free Relation to Technology.” In, Technology and the Politics of Knowledge”. Andrew Feenberg and Alastair Hannay, Eds., (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1995). 97-107.

Heidegger, Martin. “Building Dwelling Thinking.” In Poetry, Language, Thought; translated and introduced by Albert Hofstadter (New York: Harper and Row, 1971). 143-62.

Hirt, Sonia A. 2016. "The City Sustainable: Three Thoughts on “Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities”." Journal of the American Planning Association 82 (4):383-84. doi: 10.1080/01944363.2016.1213656.

Holling, C. S. 1973. "Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems." Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 4 (1): 1-23.

Hughes, Thomas. “Technological Momentum.” In Does Technology Drive History: The Dilemma of Technological Determinism. Merritt Roe Smith and Leo Marx, Eds. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994). 101-14.

McGeehan, Patrick. 2011. “The High Line Isn’t Just a Sight to See; It’s Also an Economic Dynamo.” The New York Times, June 5, A18.

Mumford, Lewis. 2007. “Technical Syncretism and Toward an Organic Ideology.” In, Rethinking Technology. London: Routledge [1934].

Simon Guy and Graham Farmer. 2001.“Re-interpreting Sustainable Architecture: The Place of Technology.” In Journal of Architectural Education 54:3, 140-14.

Smith, Merritt Roe. “Technological Determinism in American Culture.” In Does Technology Drive History: The Dilemma of Technological Determinism. Merritt Roe Smith and Leo Marx, Eds. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994). 1-36.

Thompson, Paul. 2016. The Many Meanings of Sustainability: A Competing Paradigms Approach. In, Steven A. Moore, ed. Pragmatic Sustainability: Dispositions of Critical Adaptation. 2nd Ed. New York: Routledge. 16-28

 

 
 

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