Camden Highline Moves Forward

John Hill
23. January 2023
Camden Highline ground level view (Visualization © Hayes Davidson/JCFO/vPPR)

The plan for the Camden Highline, from as early as 2017 when we first learned about it, would connect Camden Town with Kings Cross, two popular but otherwise disconnected districts in London. Two years ago, in February 2021, a team led by James Corner Field Operations, which is known best as the landscape architecture firm behind New York's widely successful High Line, won the two-stage competition to design the 1.2km elevated park. The team also includes local architecture practice vPPR, community engagement specialists Street Space, and planting designer Piet Oudolf, who worked with James Corner on the High Line.

Camden Highline south elevation (Visualization © vPPR/JCFO)

As described in our article at the time of the competition, the most exceptional difference between the proposed Camden Highline and the precedent-setting High Line in New York is how the former sits adjacent to a working rail line. The separation between park and rail by a fence with viewing windows can be seen in the aerial montage below and the rendering at top. 

The plan is for the park to be built in three sections; the planning approval was made for the first section, running from Camden Gardens to Royal College Street. In terms of design, “each section of the Highline will differ in character,” per a statement, “in direct response to the different neighborhoods, contexts, and conditions through which it travels.” 

Camden Highline aerial view (Visualization © Hayes Davidson/JCFO/vPPR)
"Camden is a unique and vibrant place and we’ve designed the Camden Highline to embrace this special character. It will serve as a green connective thread, biodiversity corridor and a community amenity. It will be budding with opportunities for arts and culture, and an essential space for young people to examine and learn about nature. Camden Highline is an extraordinary urban project and exactly the type of forward thinking, inclusive project that might help to bring us together in trying times."

James Corner

The budget for the first section of the Highline is £14 million, most of which will come from donations to Camden Highline, a charity that is part of Camden Town Unlimited, a business improvement district established in 2006. The impetus for the project is the introduction of green space into a neighborhood that is short on it, in an effort to improve the health and mental well-being of residents. The Highline is also intended to be the centerpiece of Camden Green Loop, a public realm strategy that aims to create walkable 15-minute neighborhoods in Camden Town, Euston, and Kings Cross.

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