Over Fall Break I traveled to New York City with school.  Our site for our next studio project is located on the High Line in Chelsea, so we spent plenty of time there. In the previous classes we had just talked about microclimates and the High Line was a great example of multiple microclimates. The High Line is a 1-mile-long section of the former elevated (30 feet above sea level) freight railroad spur called the West Side line.  It has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway.  The High Line Park sets as a great example of sustainability in the urban environment.

I first noticed the different microclimates after walking along the hot street and stepped up to the highline and it was significantly cooler.  The open wind-flow and natural plants were clearly two of the main factors in this climate change.  The landscape, though cohesive throughout the project, varies along the promenade down the High Line.  Multiple conditions of light, shade, exposure, wind and soil depth on the High Line lead to its variety of microclimates.   The second section of the highline, which was recently opened, is elevated about 7.5 feet above the original railroad track.  This allows people to be walking along the tree tops.  This was one of the coolest spots I noticed because there was shade, plant life, wind.

The High Line provides a variety of spaces in its short distance.  Whether you go up there to get some sun, shade, wind or just a sheltered space.

Here is a slideshow of images of the design for the High Line from the organization’s website.  Notice the various conditions throughout the pictures and the different construction techniques as well.


For more information on the High Line visit: http://www.thehighline.org/