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Build up, build down and restore old ground

Written by on 18th February 2014
Category: Business travel and relocation

6.7 metres below the streets of New York, Lowline will turn an abandoned trolley terminal into the world’s first underground park. Its pop-up counterpart, High Line, is a public park elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. Whilst in The Bishops Avenue, in Hampstead, dozens of homes have become a lavish wasteland; laying empty in one of London’s most affluent areas. Maybe it’s time to start utilising the space and properties around us and think more creatively about how to use it?

The practicality of living underground doesn’t really appeal to a public who’ve recently been swamped with floods of water around the UK. But, as land prices in London continue to rise, perhaps it’s time to see the potential in existing landscapes. The Guardian has recently explored neglected properties in the UK that are, with much hope, destined to be renovated in to accommodation. Property owners would then see a steady stream of revenue, which is much more flexible and profitable than fixed tenancies. That’s if they decided to renovate the properties in to serviced apartments. We may have exhausted ideas from the ground-level up, but what if we start thinking outside of the box and dig a little deeper?

Canada, China and Japan have utilised underground networks with shops, theatres, and other facilities. London may have an underground tube service but what about investing in more subterranean spaces?A High Line for London competition aims to bring hidden and forgotten places in to use as innovative green public spaces. The winning project, Pop Down, proposes to transform the ‘Mail Rail’ tunnel under Oxford Street into an urban mushroom farm that can be accessed from street level. And ‘access’ is the key word in all of this. Will property owners be creative with existing property that’s easily accessible? Will new ground be explored or will old ground be restored? By the looks of it, anything is possible.

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Image: davidberkowit (Creative Commons Licence)