At a luncheon this week for the Urban Land Institute’s local sponsors, guest speaker — and Seattle restaurateur — Tom Douglas toyed with the idea of abandoning the Seattle monorail. The move, he explained, would save the cost of future maintenance and repair, and (even better) the monorail track could be replaced with a walkable, elevated green space in the spirit of the High Line, New York City’s much-touted elevated railway-turned-park. In the Tom Douglas version restaurants would, of course, line the old tracks — perhaps, even in the abandoned monorail cars themselves.
It was great to see such a vaunted entrepreneur join the ranks of urbanophiles out to remake ruins — in this case, a ruin that does not yet exist, and on such a grand and provocative scale. But our interest in this subject does not need celebrity validation, and the vision need not be as grand as Douglas’s.
Today’s post continues as an exclusive entry at Crosscut. For the remainder, click here . Parts of this post are adapted from Urbanism Without Effort, an e-book from Island Press, and based on ideas first presented in The Atlantic Cities.
Image composed by the author.