Planning approval has been granted for Camden Highline, a project to transform a section of disused railway into a new elevated urban park for London.
Similar to the High Line in New York, US, the new green space will run for 1.2km, connecting Camden Town with the King’s Cross and St Pancras area – an important transport hub for the capital.
The elevated public walkway is forecast to bring new local green space for 20,000 people, along with health and wellbeing benefits worth £10.9m over the project’s lifetime where people are expected to walk, run, exercise and socialise.
It is hoped that, in total, it could attract about 2.5m people a year.
The project is set to be built in three sections, beginning at Camden Gardens to Royal College Street, then east to Camley Street, and finally to York Way.
The project’s lead architects are James Corner Field Operations – one of the designers of the New York High Line – who are working in partnership with local architecture practice vPPR.
The project is set to increase the ecological value and biodiversity of Camden. The planting, headed up by renowned garden designer Piet Oudolf in close consultation with London Wildlife Trust, is inspired by woodlands, productive gardens, meadows and ancient British hedgerows, and will take visitors through a series of distinct ecosystems and experiences.
Each section of the Highline will differ in character, in direct response to the different neighbourhoods, contexts, and conditions through which it travels, to give a true reflection of Camden’s unique identity.
Interactive design features, including a children’s play zone, volunteer-run allotments and an outdoor classroom, will come together to create a sense of urban exploration and discovery, while balconies will connect the park to the urban street life below.
An architectural screen, programmed with nesting sites, greenery and trainspotting windows, will run the length of the park, separating it from the active rail line, while offering a coherent design language to the overall route.
The planning permission, from Camden Council, covers the first stage of the project.
“The Camden Highline has captured local imaginations. It urges us to broaden the horizons of what’s possible within our cities and is exactly the sort of innovative, environmentally sustainable, and community-driven project which will continue to benefit and inspire generations to come”, says Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
Camden Highline charity, which is driving the project – together with community engagement specialists Street Space – is now looking for donors to support with the projected £14m cost of the first section of the project and get construction work underway.
The community initiative, which started out as a crowdfunding campaign, is the culmination of public engagement that has taken place over the last four years.
World’s Youth for Climate Justice receives Carnegie Peace Prize
This week the international youth organization ‘World’s Youth for Climate Justice’ has been awarded the Youth Carnegie Peace Prize at the Peace Palace. The global youth movement received the prize for its dedicated efforts in fighting climate change by means of international law and for advocating climate justice.
“The link between climate change and peace might not be the first one that comes to mind. However, it is a strong one. Consequences of climate change include an increase in extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves, more frequent floods, wildfires and drought, that can lead to food insecurity, destruction of land and livelihood, and increased displacement – factors that foster conflict”, said Quint van Velthoven and Marijn Vodegel, from World’s Youth for Climate Justice, during their winner’s speech.
The event took place at the Great Hall of Justice, Hague, Netherlands, normally used as courtroom for the United Nations International Court of Justice, where more than 120 students, diplomats and representatives of international organizations gathered on December, 7th.
Jan van Zanen, mayor of The Hague, the international city of peace and justice, concluded the ceremony by underlining how important it is for young people’s voices to be heard: “Especially on a topic directly related to the future of today’s young people and generations to come. Young people should be at the table, locally, nationally and internationally.”
The Carnegie Foundation, owner and manager of the Peace Palace, and the Youth Peace Initiative award the Youth Carnegie Peace Prize every two years in order to garner best practices from young individuals or youth-led organizations and to put them in the spotlight. The prize recognizes the work of young peacebuilders and aims to encourage others to start their own projects.
San Cristóbal de La Laguna wins 2024 Access City Award
The Spanish city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna has received the 2024 Access City Award, for its comprehensive approach to accessibility and its improvement of the quality of life of people with disabilities.
The city has prioritised the accessibility of persons with disabilities across urban spaces, transportation systems, and social activities.
Some of the improvements in San Cristóbal de La Laguna includes all vehicles and all stations of the city’s tram network being fully accessible. And the city centre has acoustic traffic lights and tactile paving to guide visually impaired people.
In 2021, the municipality launched the Orange Point, a mobile space with resources for inclusive and accessible events. Orange Point provides sign language interpreters, anti-noise systems, and trained staff, as well as easy-to-read materials.
The city’s commitment to accessibility also includes the adoption of an institutional declaration for the defence of the rights of persons with disabilities to promote positive actions in this area. In addition, a disability council and an ombudsman for people with disabilities have been created.
Accessible spaces, both physical and digital, are a crucial first step towards achieving equality. Around 87 million people in the EU have a disability.
The city of Łódź (Poland) was awarded thesecond-place prize for implementing comprehensive standards of accessibility to guide all municipal investments, and the city of Saint-Quentin (France) won the third place for improving accessibility of the city’s public transport network.
EU journalism prize awarded for investigation into migrant boat shipwreck
A Greek, German and British consortium has won the 2023 Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for investigating the Adriana shipwreck, which left over 600 migrants dead off Pylos in Greece.
The joint investigation by the Greek investigative outlet Solomon, in collaboration with Forensis, the German public broadcaster StrgF/ARD, and the British newspaper The Guardian revealed how the deadliest migrant shipwreck in recent history happened as a result of the actions taken by the Greek Coast Guard. It also reveals inconsistencies in the Greek authorities’ official accounts.
Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, Pina Picierno, Vice-President responsible for the Prize, and Juliane Hielscher, President of the Berlin Press Club and representative of the 28 members of the independent European-wide Jury, participated in the award ceremony held in the Daphne Caruana Galizia Press Room of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
“Today, as every year, we honour Daphne Caruana Galizia’s memory with a prize that is a powerful reminder of her fight for truth and justice. Journalists around the world continue to be targeted just for doing their job, but they refuse to be silenced. This Parliament stands by their side in this long-standing battle to safeguard press freedom and media pluralism in Europe and beyond”, said Metsola.
When accepting the prize on behalf of the winning consortium, Iliana Papangeli of Solomon said: “The fatal event has forced us to confront questions about so-called European values and where the EU really stands on protecting human life – regardless of passport, ethnicity, race, gender, disability, or class. This joint investigation showed how violent and restrictive EU migration policies are, ultimately leading to a massive loss of life”.
Between 3 May and 31 July 2023, more than 700 journalists from the 27 EU countries submitted their stories for consideration. Twelve of these submissions were shortlisted by the jury before the overall winner was decided.
About the winning story
The investigation took an in-depth look into the events surrounding the loss of the fishing trawler Adriana on 14 June this year some 50 nautical miles off Pylos, in south-western Greece, killing over 600 migrants who had left Libya some days earlier.
Over 20 interviews were made with survivors, and court documents and coastguard sources were looked into. The findings detail missed rescue opportunities and offers of assistance that were ignored, whereas the survivors’ testimonies indicate that it was the attempts by the Greek coastguard to tow the trawler that ultimately caused its sinking. The Greek coastguard denied that it attempted to tow the trawler.
The fateful night was simulated by Forensis using interactive 3D modelling of the trawler thanks to data from the coastguard’s log and testimony of the coast guard vessel’s captain, as well as from flight paths, maritime traffic data, satellite imagery and videos taken by nearby shipping vessels and other sources.
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