Two men sit on the abandoned tracks that would become the High Line
High Line Logo

2017 PRIZE

The 13th Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design recognizes the High Line as exemplar for the complex coordination of creative professionals, philanthropists, and policy makers by deeply committed community advocates.

View of the ‘Projects’ from the High Line, Iwan Baan

West Chelsea was transforming from a neighborhood of meat–packers, leather clubs, NYC counter–culture, and NYCHA housing projects into one with white collar office workers and developer speculation. A historic, elevated rail line was in the way and had to go. After countless public meetings, fundraising events, celebrity endorsements, guerrilla marketing strategies, and design competitions, Friends of the High Line slowly shifted public opinion from antipathy to enthusiasm.

The High Line is now both a nonprofit organization and a public park on the West Side of Manhattan. Through their work with communities on and off the High Line, they’re devoted to reimagining the role public spaces have in creating connected, healthy neighborhoods and cities.

Built on the same rail line, the High Line was always intended to be more than a park. You can walk through gardens, view art, experience a performance, savor delicious food, or connect with friends and neighbors-all while enjoying a unique perspective of New York City.

High Line Section, James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro
High Line Section, James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Cover of Fortune Magazine, August, 2003
Cover of Fortune Magazine, August, 2003
Construction Works, Friends of the High Line
Construction Works, Friends of the High Line
Planting Design Drawing, Piet Oudolf
Planting Design Drawing, Piet Oudolf
“Creating a more equitable High Line”, High Line Magazine, Fall 2016
“Creating a more equitable High Line”, High Line Magazine, Fall 2016
Map of the High Line neighborhood, Paula Scher
Map of the High Line neighborhood, Paula Scher
Ground Breaking ceremonies, Spencer Tucker, Office of the mayor, April, 2006
Ground Breaking ceremonies, Spencer Tucker, Office of the mayor, April, 2006
Big Data, Anton Egorov, High Line Magazine, Fall 2016
Big Data, Anton Egorov, High Line Magazine, Fall 2016
Design Competition Proposal, TerraGRAM: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, D.I.R.T Studio, Beyer Blinder Belle, 2004
Design Competition Proposal, TerraGRAM: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, D.I.R.T Studio, Beyer Blinder Belle, 2004
“Save the spur” – marketing for the preservation of the High Line near the Rail Yards, Friends of the High Line
“Save the spur” – marketing for the preservation of the High Line near the Rail Yards, Friends of the High Line

About

The 13th Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design recognizes the High Line as exemplar for the complex coordination of creative professionals, philanthropists, and policy makers by deeply committed community advocates. The Green Prize also recognizes Friends of the High Line for their unwavering commitment to improving the public realm through design excellence and for their capacity to continually reinvent the High Line in ways that support more inclusive public spaces — both in New York and across the globe.

The opening of the High Line in 2009 was neither the park’s first nor final achievement. Originally conceived in the early 20th century, the elevated rail was a response to public outcry over rail–related fatalities at street level. Over time, the High Line became increasingly peripheral to New Yorkers, if they noticed it at all, seen more as a decaying behemoth, a platform for vice, and a hindrance to progress than for its potential as a transformative public asset. Nearly ten years after the first section opened, the High Line’s re–emergence as a beloved and celebrated public space not only has transformed a neighborhood, it also has influenced how we approach and understand urban design on a global scale.

The evolving nature of cities situates the practice of urban design within much longer trajectories of urbanization than can be fully expressed or understood by a singular site, agent, or process. The High Line exists simultaneously as material, infrastructural, and object–based, and immaterial, agency–driven, and processes–oriented. Its influence extends far beyond the physical, temporal, and geographical space it occupies. Projects like the High Line can come into being only through an expanded practice of design — one that interweaves politics, policy, and public process into the design of the built environment. This exhibition explores these intersections of activism and infrastructure, unpacking the social, natural, and formal design components that make the High Line an exceptional urban design project.

– Stephen Gray and Caroline Filice Smith, Co–curators

Prize Selection Committee

  • Diane Davis, Committee Chair
  • Stephen Gray
  • Jeannette Kuo
  • Paola Vigano
  • Charles Waldheim

Curation and Exhibition Design

  • Stephen Gray, Co-curator
  • Caroline Filice Smith, Co-curator
  • Forrest Jessee, Exhibition Designer
  • Dan Borelli, Director of Exhibitions
  • David Zimmerman-Stuart, Exhibitions Coordinator
  • Mariana Paisana, Research and Graphics

GSD Administration

  • Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design
  • Patricia Roberts, Executive Dean
  • Ken Stewart, Assistant Dean and Director of Communications and Public Programs
  • Paige Johnston, Manager of Public Programs

Billboard Photos

  • Iwan Baan
  • Joel Sternfeld

Exhibition Collaborators

  • Adam Ganser, Vice President for Planning and Design, Friends of the High Line
  • Anna Hippee, Planning and Design Coordinator, Friends of the High Line
  • Lisa Tziona Switkin, Senior Principal, James Corner Field Operations
  • Margaret Jankowsky, Director of Marketing and Business Development, James Corner Field Operations
  • Matthew Johnson, Principal, DS+R
  • Trevor Lamphier, DS+R