About this time last year, I was lucky enough to travel to New York for a holiday and I was thrilled to visit The High Line for the first time, and it didn’t disappoint! The High Line is a spectacular example of urban re-use where a disused elevated railway line has been re-appropriated into public space and given back to the people for leisure.
As a Sydneysider, I am now proud to say that between Broadway and Darling Harbour in the Sydney CBD, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority has been devising an urban re-use strategy to maximise new public space in the city. It is effectively our version of The High Line, aptly named The Goods Line.
Centering around the rejuvenation and revitalisation of the 500 meter disused railway line once used to carry wool and wheat from the stores surrounding the foreshore into the city, the railway line has been blocked off since 1854.
This month is the first time in 150 years that we have been able to walk over these tracks.
The new Goods Line is made up of a beautifully planned public walkway with meeting spots, ping pong tables, a children’s water playground, study pods, native plants, lawns and small performance spaces and amphitheaters for public theatre and moonlight cinema.
The Goods Line is also the perfect forecourt for the first Frank Gehry building in Australia, the Dr Chau Chak Wing building that houses The University of Technology Sydney Business School.
It will be wonderful to see the revitalisation and beautification of Ultimo extend beyond The Goods Line down to the enormous redevelopment of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre and Darling Harbour.
Whilst that part of Sydney is currently a picture of cranes and scaffolding, if the unveiling of the first stage of The Goods Line is a sign of things to come then we can expect an intelligent urban renewal and re-use strategy that will continue to assist with the beautification of an almost forgotten area of Sydney.
All images via © Alexandra Kidd Design