Will Philadelphia be next to repurpose the space under its elevated railways?

The recent spate of interest in repurposing Philadelphia‘s Center City alleys as better public spaces has us thinking about which other underutilized spaces in Philly could use a touch-up, so it was fitting that the main event at this year’s Corridor Realities panel, presented by the Commerce Department and the Community Design Collaborative at DesignPhiladelphia, was a presentation from the Design Trust for Public Space about bringing some cheer to some of New York City’s most dismal spaces.

The Design Trust is a NY-based organization best known for producing the 2002 report that stoked interest in redeveloping NYC’s High Line into a public park.

More recently they’ve been working on a project called Under the Elevated, which takes up the substantially more daunting challenge of enlivening the dead zones underneath elevated rail and highway infrastructure.

New York City has about 700 miles of elevated rail infrastructure that’s mostly concentrated in under-served communities and the outer boroughs, and the effect of this infrastructure is to render the spaces underneath dark and dreary.

Picture the space under the El in Philadelphia’s Kensington.

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