Urban Move

Redefining bridges and tunnels for the next generation of our cities


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Author Guro Ranum et al.
Urban Designer, Sweco Norway

Urbanisation has made European cities denser and available urban spaces scarcer. This means that we must start thinking differently about our infrastructure. The area under a bridge might be a dark, unwelcoming space that people take detours to avoid. Or it might be a venue for community activities and outdoor meetings. To explore the full potential of our bridges and tunnels, we need to think in new ways. In this report, "Redefining bridges and tunnels for the next generation of our cities", Sweco analyses cases where bridge and tunnel areas have been used successfully and proposes methods for reinventing infrastructure in European cities. You can download the full report by via a link at the bottom this page.

In 1980, the last train ran on the High Line railway in New York, pulling three carloads of frozen turkeys. After the railroad was vacated, a group of local residents and activists started advocating its conversion into a public landscape. In 2006, more than 25 years after the railway was decommissioned, work began on transforming the old viaducts into a green elevated park. Today, the park is considered one of New York's most spectacular sights, visited by 5 million people annually.

The High Line is one example of how an existing, vacant structure can be redesigned to transform a community and create value for citizens. The same results can be achieved in many cities, simply by thinking differently about bridges and tunnels. "Redefining bridges and tunnels for the next generation of our cities" explores the potential of new and existing tunnels and bridges to reduce barriers and provide urban spaces and functions that improve quality of life in Europe.