NEW YORK:A Peer Network for Equitable Infrastructure Reuse

The High Line Network

A Peer Network for Equitable Infrastructure Reuse

The High Line Network is an association of 19 infrastructure reuse projects across North America. It was established by Friends of the High Line, the nonprofit organization that founded, funds, and maintains the High Line in New York City.

The High Line Network focuses on peer-to-peer knowledge sharing so that all infrastructure reuse projects can reach their full potential. Network members believe that these projects can bring tremendous social, environmental, and economic benefits to their cities—and that those benefits must reach as many people as possible. Together the network is exploring how to make these projects truly equitable public spaces.

While the High Line is regarded as a big success—creating tax revenue for New York City and raising the profile of the neighborhood—the High Line team recognizes that these projects must do more to ensure that community voices remain at the center of these projects and that project impacts are distributed equitably. For example, in an interview with CityLab, Robert Hammond, co-founder of Friends of the High Line, said “Instead of asking what the design should look like, I wish we’d asked, ‘What can we do for you? Because people have bigger problems than design. After incorporating consideration of equity into the project, Friends of the High Line added a teen employment program that provides job training and experience in art and horticulture, and adjusted the park programming so that it appeals to a more diverse group of community members.

The peer learning enabled by the High Line Network will facilitate delivery of all of the member infrastructure reuse projects, as well as future ones that draw on their experience.