SYDNEY GETS THE GOODS

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. 

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   The first stage of The Goods Line opened this month just in time for Spring.

The first stage of The Goods Line opened this month just in time for Spring.

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   The Goods Line extends past the Powerhouse Museum towards Ian Thorpe swimming pool.

The Goods Line extends past the Powerhouse Museum towards Ian Thorpe swimming pool.

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. 

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   The Ultimo Road bridge was built in 1879 and is the oldest iron bridge in Australia.

The Ultimo Road bridge was built in 1879 and is the oldest iron bridge in Australia.

This month is the first time in 150 years that we have been able to walk over these tracks.

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   The introduction of native plants will add to the changing landscape as they grow over time.

The introduction of native plants will add to the changing landscape as they grow over time.

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. 

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   The Goods Line provides the best platform to view Frank Gehry’s already iconic new building.

The Goods Line provides the best platform to view Frank Gehry’s already iconic new building.

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.

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   The Goods Line has certainly put a spring in my step as I walk to and from my classes at UTS.

The Goods Line has certainly put a spring in my step as I walk to and from my classes at UTS.

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

I HEART THE HIGH LINE

I was lucky to be back in New York at the beginning of August for a friend's wedding. Apart from the amazing nuptials, the other highlight of my summer holiday was finally visiting The High Line. 

'The High Line as it currently stands is a testament to reuse.' Mark Dion, High Line of the Borough of Manhattan.

The High Line was designed by James Corner Field Operations and Diller, Scofidio and Renfro. Repurposing of the railway into an urban park began construction in 2006, with the first phase opening in 2009 and the second phase opening in 2012. 

The High Line is an ‘aerial greenway’ - urban renewal meets landscape architecture, and has created a public space that spans 20 New York City blocks. It is suspended above street level on the site of an old rail way line. The railway line was removed temporarily to restore the High Line for public use, and the tracks were then put back in to their original locations.

The structure is a combination of old and new: the existing railway tracks and original structures, with the newly designed public areas - seating, water features, viewing platforms and pathways.

There has been talk of a 'copycat' High Line in Sydney on the old railway tracks between Broadway and Darling Harbour, called The Goods Line. It is a partnership with the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and the City of Sydney, and is being created by Aspect Studio and Chrofi Architects.

We can only hope that this urban renewal project comprising of native flora and fauna, public space, exhibition and event spaces and a green thoroughfare, will be at least as successful and encourage as much development and public interaction as it has in New York. To read more about The Goods Line, click here.

The High Line - an oasis in the middle of Manhattan. Development and construction is booming in the area.

The High Line - an oasis in the middle of Manhattan. Development and construction is booming in the area.

'Peel-up' seating and drinking fountains are a feature of The High Line.  

'Peel-up' seating and drinking fountains are a feature of The High Line. 

For the love of  metallic - silver painted brown bricks.   Image 1 via  © Alexandra Kidd Design / Image 2 via  © Alexandra Kidd Design / Image 3 via  © Alexandra Kidd Design

For the love of  metallic - silver painted brown bricks.

Image 1 via ©Alexandra Kidd Design / Image 2 via ©Alexandra Kidd Design / Image 3 via ©Alexandra Kidd Design