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The High Line: a 'suburban space' for an urban public

Warren, Julia (2014) The High Line: a 'suburban space' for an urban public. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The dramatic physical, social, and economic transformations of contemporary post-industrial society have created new kinds of urban spaces. While some cities, such as Detroit, are experiencing large-scale disinvestment in the urban core, demolition, and abandonment of city property; other cities, like New York, are appropriating old industrial spaces as destinations for cultural and touristic consumption. Both facets of urban change can be understood as a result of the shift from a production to a service economy in the United States. The High Line, New York’s “Park in the Sky,” is one of these destinations. The park has received many accolades for being a well-designed, well-maintained, well-visited park, but is yet to be critically analyzed within a larger historical context. This thesis begins with an analysis of the High Line via the concepts of public space and the sentimentalization of nature forwarded by the critic and activist Jane Jacobs in her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961). It then utilizes more recent theories of the privatization of urban space forwarded by urban theorists such as Gregory Smithsimon and Benjamin Shepard who note the appearance of “suburban space” within cities. In conclusion, this thesis posits that the High Line belongs to a new category of urban space that is created for a very specific section of the urban public who have the leisure as well as the financial means to enjoy such spaces. The thesis also reveals the manner in which the “nature” on display at the High Line bears striking resemblance to the artificially constructed and ecologically wasteful “green spaces” that were ubiquitous in the post-was United States suburbs.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Warren, Juliajdw67@pitt.eduJDW67
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorRajagopalan , Mrinalinimrr55@pitt.eduMRR55
Committee MemberSmithsimon,
Committee MemberSavage, Kirkksa@pitt.eduKSA
Chase, Williamwchase@pitt.eduWCHASE
Date: 2 May 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 April 2014
Approval Date: 2 May 2014
Submission Date: 18 April 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 59
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Architectural Studies
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: The High Line, suburban space, public space, urban nature, Jane Jacobs, New York City, gentrification, history
Date Deposited: 02 May 2014 17:55
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:19


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