Recently, the NSW government announced that Sydney’s monorail infrastructure will be demolished only 24 years after it went into service. David Vago, Principal of habitation believes that this is a missed opportunity to retrofit the Monorail structure for a pedestrian focused open space similar to the High-Line in New York.
habitation proposes to retrofit the existing Sydney Monorail structure into a continuous above-ground path through the city. Vago sees the proposal as embracing “the principles set out by the City of Sydney and embrace the agenda and ideas championed in 2030 Sustainable Sydney;”. The 3.6km loop proposal called the High-Lane would become an uninterrupted route though the city. Vago believes that the path “will appeal to recreational runners, walkers, joggers, office-workers, parents with prams and tourists who yearn to see the city from a new perspective.”
The proposal states that the infrastructure is already in place and with the addition of a path that varies in width along its length, widening out and expanding in areas to create seating alcoves or viewing platforms. Existing pylons visible from street level can become growing vertical gardens utilising self-sustaining technology and softening the visual impact of existing infrastructure.
The High-Lane could be the answer to Sydney’s congested footpaths and limited opportunities for office workers to venture outdoors at lunch time and after work. The loop would become city dwellers favourite recreational space that could reduce the costs of sedentary lifestyles and weight related health issues that are costing Australians millions of dollars.
The loop path proposal incorporates areas for trees and gardens to be planted and sees the existing monorail stations as possible pocket parks, cafes, gallery spaces and points of reference connecting users to the ground.
Vago points to the successful High-Line in New York which adapted a freight train line as “one of the most successful urban regeneration projects in recent times and a model example of a project where public persistence, passion and clever design combined to create a much loved green city space.”
Whether the proposal will come to fruition is yet to be seen, but with some ingenuity and imagination habitation’s proposal could become a green recreation artery snaking its way through one of the world’s most interesting and picturesque cities.