In David’s blog, he looked into two case studies about how could we reuse railway infrastructure in a urban regeneration view. Because of the rise of the car for personal travel and lorries for cargo transport, the length of railway is less than half of that in 1928 which was 20235 miles. According to the data, there are around 800 miles railway are not be used today, in another word, they are abandoned.
So, there are many spaces that designers could use to think about how they can reuse these areas with a creative way. One of case study David looked into is High Line in Manhattan, New York city. It’s a public green space in the centre of New York now. The developers used existing railway to create a interesting place where people can take a walk and have some rest in busy city. And it was built above a busy street which means there is no extra space it needs. It’s not only saving urban space but also decorate the city itself.
Another project is called The Thinkbelt designed by Cedric Price in 1965 but never realised. It’s more like a flexible project and take advantage of connectivity that railway infrastructure could provide.
When we think about how we can redesign an abandoned railway, we need to think about what’s in there and what we can take advantage about its existing. Green space is also a good choice if the railway is near the urban centre. Railway as a memory for everyone shouldn’t be demolished once we don’t use them anymore. Because people always need some memories about the past.
Matthews, S. (2001) The Fun Palace and Potteries Thinkbelt
Department for Transport (2017) ; Length of national railway route at year end, and passenger travel by national railway and London Underground https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/rai01-length-of-route-distance-travelled-age-of-stock