TORONTO – “Something big” is coming to the bleak grey wasteland under the Gardiner Expressway.
On Tuesday, the city unveiled Project: Under Gardiner, a revitalization project kickstarted by a $25-million donation from local philanthropists.
Today’s the day – can you feel the excitement? Something big is coming. pic.twitter广州桑拿网/7xhDbYND8O
— Under Gardiner (@undergardiner) November 17, 2015
Early plans show cycling trails, performance spaces and even a skating rink, although the city will entertain public consultation that could see the design evolve over time. The possibilities are almost endless.
Other cities around the world have capitalized on the dead space beneath their roadways to create remarkable art and community projects. Here are just a few.
Phoenix Flowers – Glasgow, Scotland
After Glasgow lost Phoenix Park due to freeway construction, the city attempted to recreate a park-like atmosphere with a colourful display of huge metal flowers and a bright red walkway connecting North Glasgow and the city centre.
Stanica Cultural Centre – Zilina, Slovakia
The “cultural node” combines a bar, cafe, theatrical hall, gallery, artists’ workshop and even a free campground under an active rail line and in a central highway roundabout.
The original structure is part of a defunct train station – the name Stanica means “station” in Slovak – but the entire centre continues outdoors, where a performance venue using beer crates and hay bales for seats lies under the elevated train tracks.
SEART Park – Auckland, New Zealand
Named for the South Eastern Arterial roadway that runs overhead, this park is festooned with randomly placed, brightly painted poles that enliven an otherwise Gardiner-esque grey zone.
The Underline – Miami, Fla.
Still a work in progress, Miami’s ambitious underline aims to create a “10-mile canvas for artistic expression,” according to the project website. Current plans call for creation of gardens, bike and running paths, an art gallery and a “hammock trail.”
Street Children Home – Caracas, Venezuela
A different sort of underpass project, this small shelter for homeless youth still makes innovative use of otherwise dead and dilapidated space. The 30-bed shelter also boasts a rooftop basketball court and soccer area, a garden and a woodworking shop.