Why New York’s High Line Became the Attraction Smart Cities Want

Anyone who knows New York City has probably heard of the High Line, a public park created out of an abandoned elevated rail line on Manhattan’s west side.

Fifteen years ago the elevated and abandoned railway was slated for demolition, but today, the High Line draws more than seven million visitors a year and is credited with sparking economic activity in the neighborhood worth billions of dollars. In addition to retail and restaurants, a new modern art museum and an outpost of the Standard Hotel chain act as additional anchors. Those numbers are inspiring cities around the world to develop similar “rails-to-trails” projects — or at least think twice before tearing down relics of the industrial past which could easily be turned into magnets for visitors and locals alike.

On this episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking about the creation of the High Line, its legacy and the quest to create the next big thing in parks.

Joining us is Adrian Benepe, who was the New York City parks commissioner when the High Line was being developed and first opened in 2009. He’s senior vice president and director of city park development at The Trust for Public Land now. We also welcome Meg Daly, founder and president of Friends of the Underline in Miami, which aspires to be a 10-mile linear park and urban trail.

They join Skift podcast host Hannah Sampson and senior editor Greg Oates.

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