Elevated urban park initiative gets planning approval to revive neglected London rail

Elevated urban park initiative gets planning approval to revive neglected London rail

‘A new park in the sky’ for London

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

Running along 1.2km of disused railway between Camden Town and King’s Cross, the project sees a green link line which will offer true spaces London introduce a new attraction for capital. The high-line style park is predicted to provide 20,000 people with new local green space, increase the ecological value of the site, and boost Camden’s biodiversity.

‘The Camden Highline has captured the local imagination. It urges us to expand what can be done within our cities and that is exactly the kind of innovative, environmentally sustainable, community-driven projects that will benefit and inspire future generations. This vision will also provide huge entrepreneurial opportunities for small local businesses, helping to build a better, greener and more prosperous London for all. I’m looking forward to following the Camden Highline on its journey and walking in London’s own park in the sky,’ opinions
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

Elevated urban park initiative gets planning approval to revive neglected London rail

Ground level visualization of the Camden High Line © Hayes Davidson

introducing more green spaces into areas of central London

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

The first phase between Camden Gardens and Royal College Street can now go ahead, while the remaining two sections (from Royal College Street to Camley Way, and from Camley Way up to York Way) are still awaiting planning permission . ‘Each section of the High Line will have a different character, in direct response to the different neighbourhoods, contexts and conditions through which it travels, to truly reflect Camden’s unique identity. Interactive design elements, including a children’s play zone, volunteer 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 neglected London rail
Camden Highline South Elevation © vPPR-JCFO

Along the length of the park, an architectural screen full of nesting sites, greenery, and transport windows will separate the green oasis from the active railway while providing a coherent design language for the entire route. ‘There will be full access to the access points to the park, at Camden Gardens, Royal College Street, Camley Street, and York Lane, with the possibility of an additional fifth staircase at St Pancras Lane.’

In addition, section one will feature a transparent scenic elevator or staircase that will lead visitors through a canopy of trees onto a floating bridge, offering sweeping panoramas over the park and the Victorian railway viaduct. The project is expected to provide 200 construction jobs and 116 new long-term jobs, introduce green spaces to the capital, and boost 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 part of the project and start construction work. The target opening date for the first part is 2025.

Elevated urban park initiative gets planning approval to revive neglected London rail
Aerial view of Camden Highline © Hayes Davidson

‘I live and work within a few hundred meters of the Camden High Line and see it as a local walk you can do with the family, linking the canal and the Coalyard in one loop. It would be a place to go and meet friends, forming the central spine of the community. A small part of Camden goes through private residences but the longest part is serving several housing estates and parts of London that currently have no access to local green space. I am delighted how the Camden Highline will bring Camden together through a beautiful shared asset,’ states Chief Architect, Tatiana von Preussen from vPPR.

Elevated urban park initiative gets planning approval to revive neglected London rail
Camden High Line ©JCFO Artifact Wall

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Camden High Line ©JCFO Camden Road Bridge Catwalk

Camden High Line ©JCFO Camden Road Bridge Catwalk

Camden Highline ©vPPR-JCFO North Highline

Camden Highline ©vPPR-JCFO North Highline

Camden High Line ©JCFO Woodland Seat Grove

Highline Camden ©JCFO Woodland Seat Grove

Camden Highline ©JCFO Trainspotting wall

Camden Highline ©JCFO Trainspotting wall

Camden High Line ©JCFO Overlook

Camden High Line ©JCFO Overlook

Camden High Line ©JCFO Artifact Wall

Camden High Line ©JCFO Artifact Wall

project information:

name: Camden High Line

location: Camden, London

design team:

chief adviser: Field Operations James Corner

architecture: vPPR Architects

planting design: Piet Oudolf

art: Hey Locke

participation: Street Space

lighting design: Great Speirs

railway: Engineered by Tony Gee

engineering: AKTII

cost modeling: Driver Levett Bucknall

sustainability: Atelier Ten

identity & routing: Pentagram

inheritance: Authentic Futures

planning: Lichfields

construction planning: Avondale Consulting

ecology and biodiversity: London Wildlife Trust

christina petridou I design boom

January 21, 2023

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