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Crowdfunding: New York High Line in Rotterdam?

During the 5th IABR (International Architecture Biënnale Rotterdam) over 35 projects from more than 25 cities around the world will be presented in Rotterdam. This year´s theme is ´Making City´ and examines how the city can continue to generate its wealth in a sustainable manner. During one of the IABR Public Lectures, Alexandros Washbum, director Urban Design from the urban development program of New York City, elaborated on New York´s successful public park, The High Line.

New York Highline

The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York, and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. The first section of the High Line opened in June of 2009, and the second section of the High Line opened in June of 2011. Running between Gansevoort and West 30th Streets, the High Line is now one mile in length, connecting three neighborhoods along the west side.


Friends of the New York High Line

Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition. It is now the non-profit conservancy working with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to make sure the High Line is maintained as an extraordinary public space. In addition to overseeing maintenance, operations, and public programming for the park, Friends of the High Line works to raise the essential private funds to support more than 90 percent of the park’s annual operating budget. New York´s urban development plan ´PlaNYC´ focuses on re-using buildings and protecting the city against the negative consequences of climate change. The High Line fits in this perfectly, because the railway road has now a new function as city park and is used a lot by citizens and tourists.


Crowdfunding project: I make Rotterdam

New York´s context differs strongly from the city of Rotterdam, but Rotterdam does have the same ambitions. In 2014 Rotterdam wants to become European Green Capital of the year and the municipality wants more green zones in the city. An example of these ambitions is the ´I make Rotterdam´ project. Before, the district around Rotterdam central station was busy and vibrant, but nowadays it is packed away between fragmented buildings and packed infrastructural axes. The ´I make Rotterdam´ project is an initiative of IABR in collaboration with the architectural bureau ZUS. The main aim of the project is to make the area around the central station more attractive.

First step in the project plan is to develop a bridge of approx. 2 km through the air, called ´Luchtsingel´: a wooden pedestrian bridge between central station and the rest of this area. Rotterdam´s pedestrian air bridge is financed by crowdfunding. This means every individual or organisation has the possibility to buy a piece of the bridge, to be more specific a wooden shelf. The shelf gets imprinted with the name of that person or organisation. In that way the biridge is actually being build by all people and organisations in Rotterdam.