jeudi 3 septembre 2009

# Learning from the High Line

New York City High Line opened its first portion to the public about three months ago, it has been published in hundred of blogs and magazines praising Diller & Scofidio's design, and when I visited it, I heard a lot of people saying that they actually loved it.
However, I think that some pieces of reflection could be useful here. New York City is getting more and more gentrified, suppressing thus its social diversity which makes this city so interesting and this whole High Line seems to me as a violent estate operation bringing back high social class people in Meat Packing district. The High Line as an architecture project is symptomatic of this will of gentrification. It wants to look wild like it used to be but in a very sterilized and secure way. This piece of railway used to be a long and narrow abnormal territory of illegibility within the city and it is now part of the capitalistic machine ruling it.

Paris still owns a space like that. It is called La Petite Ceinture (the small belt) and consists in an abandoned railway all around the city. It is forbidden by the law to walk on it but its same illegibility protects illegal visitors to be seen by the authority.
It probably won't be too long before estate investors realize how great it would be to develop it, but I would argue that the city needs those zones of non-authority where you have to negotiate a new balance between freedom and security. Their way to live them are different that the ones we use for the city all around just like in Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker where the Zone has to be experienced by other behaviors than usual ones.

pictures from Joel Sternfeld

First portion of D&S's highline nowadays

Petite Ceinture in Paris

1 commentaire:

Jérémie Lopez a dit…

I study architecture in frence. More and more example of gentrification grow up in city, in street.
We must understand by "gentrification", "capitalisme"-it's the same thing.

Great job for your blog, I visit it sometimes. keep the faith.