|Proposed London Garden Bridge to be completed in 2018|
The Telegraph of London reported in May that the design for the controversial London Garden Bridge which will span the Thames River from the Inner Temple to the cultural centre of the Southbank will contain five different landscape zones. The bridge, due to open in 2018, was designed by Thomas Heatherwick with the garden designed by Dan Pearson.
|Artist Rendition of the London Garden Bridge|
|11th Street Bridge Park / Images by OLIN and OMA|
New York City has taken the big step of restoring The High Bridge crossing the Harlem River. Look at it in the picture below in comparison to the other landscaped pedestrian bridges.
|copyright Roy Levit 2015|
Is this the pedestrian bridge you want?
The High Bridge in New York City is under the administration of the Parks & Recreation Department of NYC. So, why isn't it landscaped at all like other Parks and Recreation facilities in the City? Even The High Line in downtown Manhattan, which is also an elevated structure has become very popular as a landscaped pedestrian park. It is a destination. Visitors come from all over the world to see it and spend some time there absorbing the naturalistic elements provided by the space.
|High Line, New York|
Visitors coming to The High Bridge will walk over it to the other side, they will stop for a few moments while on the bridge and take a look at the commanding vista of the Harlem River Valley, the New York Skyline, or even the panoramic view of Highbridge Park, but they do not find it a place to stay for a while. There is no shade of a tree to protect them from the mid day summer sun beating down on them. The benches are totally without a context to make the pedestrian feel invited to sit down. The bridge itself other than its own architectural grace and history is sterile.
Adding landscape elements such as trees, shrubs and other plant material in containers placed upon the deck of the bridge would not do a disservice to its history or detract from its architecture. Rather, they would accentuate what the bridge was originally intended for: bringing the much needed sustenance of water to a city that needs it for both its citizenry and vegetation to live and grow. Most commercial public spaces include landscaping as part of the design to bring warmth to the setting.
Think of what The High Bridge could be. Please express your desire for The High Bridge to be truly brought into the Park system of New York with the addition of appropriate landscaping. As we commented in our post on mayor de Blassio's lack of interest in the parks on July 16, this would be a great way for him to start showing that he really cares about the parks and the residents of the city by providing quality space for recreational activities outdoors.