Flower beds and lighting upgrades are among the recommendations offered by the Design for Public Space for public areas under and around the city’s 700 miles of elevated train lines and roadways.
The nonprofit unveiled its “Under the Elevated Study” Thursday, which compiled two years of research aimed at finding uses for the space.
At a joint press conference with the NYC Department of Transportation, Design Trust executive Director Susan Chin laid out the results of the study, which examined seven underutilized “case study locations” and recommended future beautification and reclamation projects.
“Unlocking the potential of these spaces will capture the imaginations of communities across the five boroughs and beyond,” Chin said.
Other recommendations include filter runoff, noise pollution amelioration and lighting upgrades for safety.
The project, Chin said, came as an outgrowth of the group’s earlier study that recommended the High Line project, and is the next logical step in the reclamation of underutilized urban spaces.
“In 2001, we asserted that space under the High Line must be given equal or greater attention as programming for the High Line’s upper deck because of their importance in shaping the urban context at the ground level,'” Chin said in a press release. “Not every neighborhood needs a High Line, however [there is a] need to alleviate the negative impact from the presence of elevated lines.”
As part of the project, the group created two “pop-up experiments” — temporary projects that made use of previously vacant public spaces in Chinatown and the Bronx. At these sites, the Design Trust and the DOT worked with community partner organizations to create “inviting, livable places.”
At Thursday’s press conference, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg applauded the efforts of the Design Trust.
“The initial experiments we’ve done in the Bronx and Chinatown have given us a toolkit for what we can do in these public spaces,” Trottenberg said. “We’re going to be working with the Design Trust to inventory all the Under the Elevated spaces and see what we can do.”