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Infrastructure, Lost and Found

People change much more quickly than cities, and eventually their needs may outpace a city’s ancient capacity. That’s why the example of New York’s High Line–repurposing outdated infrastructure for current requirements–has spawned a global mandate for urban change.

Moscow’s new park

Near the city center, architects from Wowhaus turned a four-lane highway (above) into a tree-filled park with bike and pedestrian paths, art studios, and hills that can be used for sledding in the winter (at right). The park will connect with a longer bike and pedestrian trail that will eventually run throughout the city. Explains Wowhaus cofounder Dmitry Likin, “It’s part of a project to integrate underdeveloped Moscow embankments into city life.”

Seattle’s new neighborhood

A sprawling mall parking lot has been transformed into a pedestrian-oriented community, Thornton Place, featuring hundreds of LEED–certified apartments, new retail stores, and a park. “This is one element of what will ultimately be a very high-density urban center,” says Bert Gregory, CEO of Mithun, the architec-ture firm involved with the project. “It’s also part of a story about the nature of urban America and the evolution of an automobile culture.”

Shenzhen, China’s new farm

A once-abandoned glass factory became the footprint of a 20,000-square-foot urban farm, producing cabbage, chard, and bok choy for the port city’s residents. Designed as part of the Shenzhen–Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale, the space was created to serve as a model for food production in vacant spots throughout China.

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