The High Line – America’s most visited park (per acre)

By Barbara Heller
In September 26, 2014
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2014-City-Park-Facts-visits-per-acre2The 2014 City Park Facts book is based on in-depth surveys of park systems in the nation’s 100 most populous cities. Chock full of insights for Park Districts and Agencies of all sizes, the annual City Park Facts report covers park acreage, spending, and accessibility as well as the number of specific types of parks in each city.

This year’s edition lists The High Line, in New York’s West Side, as the most visited city park (ahem, per acre) in America. Amanda Burden, New York City’s chief city planner in the Bloomberg Administration, says this about the park she helped create fifteen years ago: “The High Line was an elevated railway that ran through three neighborhoods on Manhattan’s West Side, and when the train stopped running, it became a self-seeded landscape, a kind of a garden in the sky. And when I saw it the first time, honestly, when I went up on that old viaduct, I fell in love the way you fall in love with a person, honestly.”

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A National Geographic article from 2011 describes the unique aspects of The High Line this way: “Walking on the High Line is unlike any other experience in New York. You float about 25 feet above the ground, at once connected to street life and far away from it. You can sit surrounded by carefully tended plantings and take in the sun and the Hudson River views, or you can walk the line as it slices between old buildings and past striking new ones. I have walked the High Line dozens of times, and its vantage point, different from that of any street, sidewalk, or park, never ceases to surprise and delight.”

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Burden asserts “Public spaces have power. It’s not just the number of people using them, it’s the even greater number of people who feel better about their city just knowing that they are there. Public space can change how you live in a city, how you feel about a city, whether you choose one city over another, and public space is one of the most important reasons why you stay in a city.”

Then she added: “I believe that a successful city is like a fabulous party. People stay because they are having a great time.” >> Watch the TED Talk

...is determined to give government a good name - one agency at a time. Her innovative approach to the planning process has delivered results in organizations across the U.S.

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