How to Put Dead Infrastructure to Good, Green Use

By Kaid Benfield

A video guide to everything from reclaiming lost space under freeways to transforming old rail lines into recreational trails

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The American Society of Landscape Architects has terrific, informative videos on its site. Their latest shows how to make much better use of "dead spots" in transportation infrastructure, such as the areas under elevated freeways. Those spaces, for example, tend to be among our most dysfunctional, yet with imagination they can be used to begin knitting neighborhoods back together instead of bifurcating them. Other examples include "parklets" in the public right-of-way next to sidewalks and, of course, the now-classic example, making recreational trails out of abandoned railroad beds. Enjoy and learn:

Infrastructure for All from ASLA on Vimeo.

The one thing I wish this video had done was bring the rails-to-trails issue up to date. Many regions are now finding it important to bring rail transit back to those once-abandoned lines. Now the greatest green accomplishments in these civic spaces are not just building the trails, but demonstrating how rails and trails can best coexist in adjacent space. Maybe a followup video?


This post also appears on NRDC's Switchboard.
Image: Dru Bloomfield/flickr

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/06/how-to-put-dead-infrastructure-to-good-green-use/240743/