Linear park

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Promenade Plantée, a 4.7km(2.9mi) elevated linear park built on top of obsolete railway infrastructure in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, France.
Plan of the Emerald Necklace, Boston, US, in 1894

A linear park is a type of park that is significantly longer than it is wide.[a] These linear parks are strips of public land running along canals, rivers, streams, defensive walls, electrical lines, or highways[1] and shorelines.[2] Examples of linear parks include everything from wildlife corridors to riverways to trails, capturing the broadest sense of the word.[3] Other examples include rail trails ("rails to trails"), which are disused railroad beds converted for recreational use by removing existing structures. Commonly, these linear parks result from the public and private sectors acting on the dense urban need for open green space.[4] Linear parks stretch through urban areas, coming through as a solution for the lack of space and need for urban greenery. They also effectively connect different neighborhoods in dense urban areas as a result, and create places that are ideal for activities such as jogging or walking.[5] Linear parks may also be categorized as greenways.[6][7] In Australia, a linear park along the coast is known as a foreshoreway. When being designed, linear parks appear unique as they are planned around the public's opinion of how the space will affect them.[8]

North America[edit]

Possibly the earliest example is the Emerald Necklace, which consists of a 1,100-acre (4.5 km2), or 445 hectare chain of parks linked by parkways (a broad, landscaped highway)[9] and waterways in Boston and Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S. The name comes from the way the planned chain appears to hang from the "neck" of the Boston peninsula.[10] This system of linear parks was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to connect the Boston Commons and Public Garden (1837) to Franklin Park (Boston), also known as the "crown jewel" of Olmstead's work in Boston.[11] The project began around 1878 with efforts to clean up and control the marshy area which later became the Back Bay and the Fens. In 1880, Olmsted proposed that the Muddy River be included in the park plan as the current dredged into a winding stream and was directed into the Charles River. Olmsted's vision of a linear park of walking paths along a gentle stream connecting numerous small ponds was complete by the turn of the century, but never completed the section to Boston Harbor. The subsequent development of the automobile industry and roads severely disrupted the original concept.[12]

High Line Park, New York City, US an aerial greenway, modelled on Paris's Promenade plantée[13]

In recent years, a prevalent example of a linear park that has seen more visitors is the High Line in New York City. The High Line is a 1.45-mile long rail trail and greenway, having been built on a historic rail line as well as constructed to have greenery all throughout.[14]It serves its purpose as a linear park by connecting neighborhoods throughout while appearing aesthetically pleasing. Historically targeted for demolition, the High Line has been transformed into an extraordinary elevated park that allows for activities such as sight-seeing and exercise, creating a new dynamic living experience within the city. Overcoming demolition as an unused industrialized area, the ingenuity of the High Line has fast become motivation for other cities to follow suit and build smarter. Notably, the High Line's annual budget is funded almost entirely by park-goers, though it is operated under the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation license agreement.[15]

William Sarjeant Park, a linear park in the Willowgrove neighbourhood of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada


In some cities, many linear parks run through residential areas. In this case, the front of the house will face the streets, while the back faces a small linear park containing a pathway, trees and grass connecting different areas together. Examples are numerous in some Canadian cities such as Saskatoon.[16] Houses connected with linear parks are more common in suburban and rural areas where space is much less in-demand.

Unique art found in BeltLine, Atlanta.

Equity and Inclusion[edit]

A linear park system advocating for equity and inclusion is the BeltLine, currently being planned and built in sections in Atlanta, Georgia. Similar to the High Line, part of the foundation for this project consisted of reclaiming 22-miles(35.4km) of historic and unused rail trails. Totaling 33-miles, the BeltLine will completely encircle Atlanta's central business districts, including a trail and light rail line on the existing tracks instead of another road.[17] The mission and vision of Atlanta's BeltLine is to geographically balance out resident demographics within the city, allowing for all associated to the BeltLine to benefit and prosper economically.[18]


Europe[edit]

Part of one of Milton Keynes's linear parks, showing cyclists crossing a cattle grid on National Cycle Route 51

In England, linear parks have also been created around waterways, especially in cities where the terrain is such that rivers and brooks have significant flood plains. Such land cannot sensibly be used for urban development and so it is set aside as a civic amenity. The settlement Milton Keynes makes extensive use of linear parks, with nine different examples that include the flood plains of the Great Ouse and of its tributaries (the Ouzel and some brooks).[19][20][21]In the UK, Milton Keynes ranked highest in a national comparison of open urban areas available to residents.[22]


In Greater London, Essex and Hertfordshire, the Lee Valley Park is a 10,000-acre (40 km2) linear park, stretching for 26 miles (42 km) long, much of it green spaces running along the flood plains of the River Lea from the River Thames to Ware, through areas such as Stratford, Clapton, Tottenham, Enfield, Walthamstow, Cheshunt, Broxbourne and Hoddesdon in an area renowned as the Lea Valley. Greater London's largest park, Lee Valley Park is more than four times the size of Richmond Park, extending beyond Greater London's borders into the neighboring counties of Hertfordshire and Essex.

A more recent example of a linear park is the Berlin Mauerpark, which was built on a part of the former Berlin Wall area and its adjacent former death strip.

Planty Park, Kraków, Poland). It encircles the Stare Miasto (Old Town), where the Medieval city walls used to stand until the early 19th century. The park has an area of 52 acres and a length of 4 kilometers (2.5 mi). It consists of a chain of thirty smaller gardens designed in varied styles and adorned with numerous monuments and fountains. The park forms a scenic walkway popular with Cracovians. In summer, sprinkled with ponds and refreshment stalls, it is a cool and shady retreat from the nearby bustling streets.[23]


Asia[edit]

View of the walkway(Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong)

In Hong Kong, a prominent example of a linear park is the Avenue of Stars. Located at the waterfront surrounding East Tsim Sha Tsui, the Avenue of Stars is a 440-meter(0.27 mi.) promenade offering scenic views to the public. As a public amenity, the park provides much needed urban space to the dense city of Hong Kong. The walking road itself is dedicated to famous Hong Kong celebrities, and as such is an attractive tourist area lined with souvenir stalls at some sections.[24]

In addition to the dynamic waterfront location, the Avenue of Stars provides visitors a "front-row seat"(stand) to the Symphony of Lights, the world's largest light and sound show. It's also around this area that the famed Star Ferry can be observed and even ridden.

Picture of Rail Corridor, Singapore


In Singapore, wild growth and shrubbery that's taken over a former KTM rail line has been encouraged and maintained through public opinion. Convincing the Singaporean government of the land's value, the citizens of Singapore were able to turn a neglected KTM railway in to a linear park that now runs 10km(6.21mi) long and offers unique perspectives into Singaporean wildlife. Rail Corridor differs from the typical linear park in a way that promotes and integrates the biodiversity and ecosystem throughout --covering 93[25] different species-- while serving as an excellent outdoor trail to get active in.[26]


List of linear parks[edit]

Europe[edit]

Belgium[edit]

France[edit]

Germany[edit]

Ireland[edit]

Portugal[edit]

Spain[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

North America[edit]

Canada[edit]

United States[edit]

Mexico[edit]

Asia[edit]

Hong Kong[edit]

Singapore[edit]

  • Rail Corridor, Singapore

Iran[edit]

Israel[edit]

Japan[edit]

Philippines[edit]

Taiwan[edit]

South Korea[edit]

United Arab Emirates[edit]

Australia[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ There is no dictionary definition for the term in the full Oxford Dictionary of English. "Linear: Resembling a line; very narrow in proportion to its length, and of uniform breadth." (Oxford Dictionary of English) The term linear park seems to have begun to be used on a regular basis in the 1960s (Google Ngram Viewer). The earliest usage in Britain was in reference to the idea of a River Thames "linear national park", in Time on the Thames by Eric Samuel De Maré (Architectural Press, 1952) (Ngram). Google Ngram Viewer, however, indicates a few earlier examples, including from the US in 1939 (Supplementary report of the Urbanism Committee to the National Resources Committee, Volume 2. United States. National Resources Committee. Research Committee on Urbanism. Clarence Addison Dykstra. U.S. Govt. 1939). It may also have been used in 1873, but Ngram didn't provide the source(s).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Parks and Recreation Programming Master Plan" (PDF). Hurst, Tx City Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  2. ^ "Study Trail profiles". U.S. Department of Transport Federal Highway Administration. Archived from the original on 2009-05-10. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  3. ^ Conference, International Linear Parks (1987). "Parkways". www.jstor.org. JSTOR j.ctt1xp3kv8. Retrieved 2021-12-06.
  4. ^ Faggi, Ana (2017-01-18). "Linear Parks: The Importance of a Balanced, Cross-Disciplinary Design". The Nature of Cities. Retrieved 2021-12-07.
  5. ^ "6 Types of Linear Park". Simplicable. Retrieved 2021-12-07.
  6. ^ Truman Greenway, Savannah, Georgia, US
  7. ^ City of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
  8. ^ Faggi, Ana (2017-01-18). "Linear Parks: The Importance of a Balanced, Cross-Disciplinary Design". The Nature of Cities. Retrieved 2021-12-08.
  9. ^ "parkway."Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (14 Apr. 2007).
  10. ^ Emerald Necklace Greenway
  11. ^ "The Emerald Necklace Conservancy". 2007-08-30. Archived from the original on 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2021-12-07.
  12. ^ Emerald Necklace Greenway
  13. ^ "Paris Elevated Rail Park Featured in Movie 'Before Sunset'". Friends of the High Line. August 12, 2004. Archived from the original on October 23, 2014. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  14. ^ "Overview". The High Line. Retrieved 2021-12-07.
  15. ^ "History". The High Line. Retrieved 2021-12-07.
  16. ^ "City of Saskatoon". Archived from the original on 2014-11-13. Retrieved 2014-11-16.
  17. ^ "Home". Atlanta Beltline. Retrieved 2021-12-07.
  18. ^ "Equity and Inclusion". Atlanta Beltline. Retrieved 2021-12-07.
  19. ^ Ouse Valley Park[permanent dead link] - Milton Keynes Parks Trust
  20. ^ Ouzel Valley Park - Milton Keynes Parks Trust
  21. ^ Parks Trust Milton Keynes
  22. ^ "Milton Keynes ranks top for green space". www.miltonkeynes.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-12-07.
  23. ^ Andrew Beattie, From the Piast Church to the Holy Cross Church Landmark Publishing, page 40.
  24. ^ "About AOS | the Avenue of Stars | Harbour, Now Sparkling". the Avenue of Stars. Retrieved 2021-12-07.
  25. ^ "Rail Corridor". www.nparks.gov.sg. Retrieved 2021-12-08.
  26. ^ "The Rail Corridor : State of Buildings". stateofbuildings.sg. Retrieved 2021-12-08.
  27. ^ James River Park System, Richmond, Virginia
  28. ^ District 4 News - January 22, 2015 (Commissioner Bill Ganz)
  29. ^ New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation: Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park