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Examining Six High Line Park Copycats Around the Globe

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Frustrated with the pedestrian-unfriendly layout caused by the hulking forms of post-World War II urban planning, the people of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, are crowd-funding a sky bridge that will cut across traffic and better unite the city's districts. While the fact that the park is funded by thousands of small donations—$33 buys one of the 17,000 planks planned for the 1,150-foot bridge—is borderline unheard of, the concept behind Rotterdam's Luchtsingel—which Architizer says translates to "raised promenade"—is hardly novel. New York City's High Line, an elevated park carved from nearly a mile and a half of abandoned railroad, has inspired copycats—not to mention at least one Thanksgiving centerpiece—across the globe; some, like the one planned for London, are even designed to take advantage of forsaken underground rail tracks. Below: a look at the world's best High Line lookalikes, from ones that grow mushrooms to hanging neighborhoods, plus, of course, the Paris project that started it all.

? Paris' Promenade Plantée, completed in 1993, is commonly considered the inspiration behind NYC's High Line. The gardens stretch in the path of the former old Vincennes railway, starting at the Opéra Bastille, winding through and intersecting arcades of shops and other parks. Fun fact: Promenade Plantée plays a role in the much-loved indie film Before Sunset.

? With their plans for an underground mushroom garden, Fletcher Priest Architects, beat out the competition to design London's own version of a High Line. The "low line," called, ever so British-ly, Pop Down, will slink beneath Oxford Street as a means of "capitaliz[ing] on a forgotten network of tunnels under London." Light seeps in through sculptural mushroom-like sunroofs, and each entry will supposedly feature underground cafés.

? Plans for the three-mile section of Chicago's Bloomingdale Rail Line once included building a greenhouse large enough to provide organic, local food for the community as well as a hydrogen-generating facility to provide fuel cells for Chicago schools. Unsurprisingly, more recent renderings reveal a plan for Bloomingdale Trail and Park that's much more, well, park-like. Curbed Chicago has the details.

? Another shot of Luchtsingel, which began at 2012's International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam. The overarching philosophy of this project? Architecture firm Zones Urbaines Sensibles (ZUS) wants to re-establish the goals of the city's official architect, who, in 1854, had hoped to plan the city around canal promenades.

? After visiting Manhattan's High Line, Mexico City's official Public Space Authority—how's that for a fancy-pants title?—allocated some $4.3M to build an elevated path from scratch, hoping to convey "a message that says the walker has the same dignity as the vehicle." The Chapultepec Project will connect a metro station to Chapultepec Forest, the city's largest park.

? San Francisco, being San Francisco, may craft its own High Line on a bridge. Rael San Fratello Architects hopes to build an epic, suspended neighborhood, complete with meadows, rock-climbing walls, bike paths, orchards, and skate parks, all stretched over 1.92 miles of renovated space on the city's Bay Bridge. Unfortunately, it's totally unclear if this will actually happen, particularly considering the $350M price tag.

? And it all comes back to New York, where architect James Ramsey and fellow New Yorker Dan Barasch crafted bold plans for the Lowline, an underground park proposed for the former Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal, a three-block-long space below the Lower East Side's Delancey Street. The park will transcend simple recreation and enter the realm of "culture park," meaning it will be linked to the neighborhood's art gallery scene, hosting exhibitions and performances. The project has already received support from government officials and, more importantly, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. More over at Curbed NY.

· Rotterdam Citizens Crowdsource Mini-"High Line" Through Thousands Of Small Donations [Architizer]
· Promenade Plantée [Paris.fr]
· Urban Mushroom Garden Scheme Wins London's High Line Competition [Architizer]
· Chicago's Bloomingdale Rail Line to Be a Park in the Sky [Inhabitat]
· Mexican Version of NYC's High Line Will Elevate Park Standards [Curbed]
· Bay Line: A High Line Park for San Francisco's Bay Bridge [Inhabitat]
· How Will the Lowline Make the Leap From Idea to Reality? [Curbed NY]