elevated urban park initiative gets planning approval to revive london’s neglected railway

elevated urban park initiative gets planning approval to revive london’s neglected railway

elevated urban park initiative gets planning approval to revive london’s neglected railway

‘A new park in the sky’ for London

The first phase of Camden Highline — a new elevated urban park in London — has been granted planning permission.

Running for 1.2km of disused railway track between Camden Town and King’s Cross, the project sees a green connective line that will offer verdant spaces to Londoners introducing a new attraction for the capital. The high-line-style park is predicted to bring new local green space for 20,000 people, increase the ecological value of the site, and boost Camden’s biodiversity.

‘The Camden Highline has captured local imaginations. It urges us to broaden the horizons of what’s possible within our cities and is exactly the sort of innovative, environmentally sustainable, and community-driven project which will continue to benefit and inspire generations to come. This vision will also bring huge enterprise opportunities to local small business, helping to build a better, greener, and more prosperous London for everyone. I look forward to following the Camden Highline on its journey and to walking in London’s own park in the sky,’ comments
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

elevated urban park initiative gets planning approval to revive london's neglected railway

Camden Highline visualization ground level view © Hayes Davidson

introducing more green spaces into inner-London areas

Started as a crowdfunding campaign four years ago, the initiative is led by architects and designers of the New York High Line (see more here) — James Corner Field Operations (more here), local architecture practice vPPR (more here), the Camden Highline team (here), and community engagement specialists Street Space (here). Informed by woodlands, productive gardens, meadows, and ancient British hedgerows, the planting, headed up by renowned garden designer Piet Oudolf, in close collaboration with the London Wildlife Trust, will usher visitors into a ‘series of distinct ecosystems and experiences’.

The first phase spanning between Camden Gardens and Royal College Street can now move on, while the two other sections (from Royal College Street to Camley Way, and from Camley Way up to York Way) are still waiting for planning approval. ‘Each section of the Highline will differ in character, in direct response to the different neighborhoods, contexts, and conditions through which it travels, to give a true reflection of Camden’s unique identity. Interactive design features, including a children’s play zone, volunteer-run allotments, and an outdoor classroom, will come together to create a sense of urban exploration and discovery, while balconies will connect the park to the urban street life below.’

elevated urban park initiative gets planning approval to revive london's neglected railway
Camden Highline South Elevation © vPPR-JCFO

Along the park’s length, an architectural screen filled with nesting sites, greenery, and transporting windows will separate the green oasis from the active rail line while offering a coherent design language to the overall route. ‘The access points to the park, at Camden Gardens, Royal College Street, Camley Street, and York Way, will be fully accessible, with a potential fifth additional stair at St Pancras Way.’

Moreover, section one will host a transparent scenic lift or stairs that will guide visitors through a tree canopy onto a floating gantry, offering sweeping panoramas over the park and the Victorian railway viaduct. The project is expected to deliver 200 construction and 116 new long-term jobs, introduce green spaces for the capital, and strengthen its profile as ‘one of the world’s leading visitor destinations’.

Now that planning permission has been granted, the Camden Highline charity is looking for financial backers to come on board to support the £14m cost of the first section of the project and get construction work underway. 2025 is the aimed opening date for the first section.

elevated urban park initiative gets planning approval to revive london's neglected railway
Camden Highline aerial view visualization © Hayes Davidson

‘I live and work within a few hundred meters from the Camden Highline and I see it as local walk you can do with the family, joining up the canal and Coal Drops Yard into a single loop. It would be a place to go and bump into friends, forming a central spine of the community. A small section of it threads through the private residences of Camden but the longest part of it serves a number of housing estates and parts of London which don’t currently have any access to local green space. I’m very excited about how the Camden Highline will bring Camden together through a beautiful, shared asset,’ mentions Lead Architect, Tatiana von Preussen of vPPR.

elevated urban park initiative gets planning approval to revive london's neglected railway
Camden Highline ©JCFO Artefact Wall

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Camden Highline ©JCFO Camden Road Bridge Catwalk

Camden Highline ©JCFO Camden Road Bridge Catwalk

Camden Highline ©vPPR-JCFO North Elevation

Camden Highline ©vPPR-JCFO North Elevation

Camden Highline ©JCFO Woodland Seating Grove

Camden Highline ©JCFO Woodland Seating Grove

Camden Highline ©JCFO Trainspotting wall

Camden Highline ©JCFO Trainspotting wall

Camden Highline ©JCFO Overlook

Camden Highline ©JCFO Overlook

Camden Highline ©JCFO Artefact Wall

Camden Highline ©JCFO Artefact Wall

project info:

name: the Camden Highline

location: Camden, London

design team:

lead consultant: James Corner Field Operations

architecture: vPPR Architects

planting design: Piet Oudolf

art: Hew Locke

engagement: engagement Street Space

lighting design: Speirs Major

railways: Tony Gee Engineering

engineering: AKTII

cost-modeling: Rider Levett Bucknall

sustainability: Atelier Ten

identity & wayfinding: Pentagram

heritage: Authentic Futures

planning: lichfields

construction planning: Avondale Consulting

ecology and biodiversity: London Wildlife Trust

christina petridou i designboom

Jan 21, 2023

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