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The High Line: spot the difference

Posted at 10:30 am, January 14, 2015 in News, Outdoor London
Peckham coal line

Are we about to get our own High Line? The elevated train line that New York turned into a park-cum-walking route has proved so popular that, last week, someone drew up plans to turn a disused Peckham train line into a London equivalent. This was followed by much press giddiness about London finally getting its own High Line. But, erm, it’s not the only such proposal. In recent years, they’ve been cropping up a lot. Here are the ones that have generated the most excitement.

Name The Peckham Coal Line
The idea Turn 1km of disused coal sidings into an elevated urban park over Peckham.
Is it our answer to the High Line? Yes. If you trust last week’s papers.
When should we expect it? No time soon. Despite generating loads of interest, the plan – devised by architecture student Nick Woodford – is as yet uncosted and unfunded.

Name Pop Down
The idea Convert 10.5 miles of disused Mail Rail tunnels under central London into an urban mushroom walkway.
Is it our answer to the High Line? Yes and no. It is the most authoritative claimant, having won a competition run in association with the Mayor of London to create a rival to the High Line. But it’s underground. And instead of pretty foliage it has fungi.
When should we expect it? Never. According to the comp organisers, it was only ever intended to create debate. Not actual projects.

Name London’s High Line
The idea Turn the Limehouse Curve (a 120-metre-long viaduct over Tower Hamlets) into a nature walk.
Is it our answer to the High Line? Jeez, didn’t you read its name?
When should we expect it? Hmm, Tower Hamlets and the GLA have expressed support, but What If: Projects, its architects, have been searching for funding since 2011.

Name The Promenade of Curiosities
The idea A South Bank walkway going from Lambeth Palace to Vauxhall Spring Gardens, linking neglected parks and using plants to suck up floodwater.
Is it our answer to the High Line? Well, the press said it was. Also it’s a walkway that’s green. But, ace sounding as it is, that’s where the similarities start and end.
When should we expect it? Soon. The project won’t finish until the end of 2017, but the first phase (along Vauxhall Walk) opens in the spring.

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