If the High Line seems long at 22 blocks–over a mile–consider Singapore’s plan for the newest High Line-inspired project: The park and path will transform a former rail line that stretches 15 miles, the length of the entire island.
The railway, first built by the British at the turn of the 20th century, fell out of use and was finally torn down in 2011. “This freed up an unprecedented 24 kilometer-long stretch of land that threads through diverse landscapes and communities … where close to 1 million residents live,” says See Nin Tan, senior director at Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority.
A preliminary design for the new space includes bike and pedestrian paths that cover the whole distance, and eight “activity” nodes along the way, where someone can stop and do yoga, rock climb, grow vegetables at an urban farm, or watch wildlife in a neighboring rainforest.
“We saw an excellent opportunity to work with the community to transform the rail corridor into a very special community space that is more than just a park,” he says.
The design, from Japan’s Nikken Sekkai firm, won a contest for plans to create the space. Early next year, a traveling exhibition will take the renderings to communities up and down the rail line, so neighbors can provide feedback for the final plans.
In the past, the rail line was mostly hidden from the neighborhoods it sliced through. As the project develops, over 100 paths will connect points along the way to the corridor, making it easier to cross the city-state on a bike or by foot.
“Where the former railway line divides communities, the rail corridor now has the potential to become an inclusive public space that connects communities,” says Tan.