Rails to Freakish Parks

Released: Oct. 29, 2009.

James Howard Kunstler discusses two major projects that have recently turned 19th century railroad structures into parks: the High Line in lower Manhattan and the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The High Line is a unique park in New York City, built upon a former elevated rail line that used to bring trains through buildings. Although the High Line gives reprieve to New Yorkers, Kunstler finds it to be an accidental freak of urban nature. We would benefit more from the deliberate creation of beautifully designed streets and boulevards at grade level. The Walkway Over the Hudson is an extremely long railroad bridge that now serves as a pedestrian park. On the plus side, Kunstler believes this type of project might protect the bridge so that it doesn’t completely fall apart. But he finds it tragic that America has discarded the major investments it once made in a rail system. A listener caller who is an urban planner in Vancouver shares his thoughts on adaptive reuse of buildings.


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(40 MB | 34:58 mins.)
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Click on the images above to view a larger version. The first four photos are of the High Line. The last three photos are the Walkway Over the Hudson.


This week’s sponsor is Revolution Hall, inviting you to come see Deer Tick, the band that sings the KunstlerCast theme song, this Nov. 4 in Troy NY. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Buy tickets online at RevolutionHall.com.