Israel is creating its own High Line on top of a busy highway

Ayalon highway
A mock-up of the finished rooftop park. Tel Aviv Global

Tel Aviv is so tired of its noise, traffic congestion, and pollution, it’s literally putting a lid on it all.

Over the next few years, the city will install a 93-square-mile rooftop park on top of the Ayalon Highway, the main artery running through the country, in a short section running through Tel Aviv. Think of it as Israel’s High Line.

While the park is expected to cost around $US525 million, it’s driven by the city’s commitment to creating a smartly designed, eco-friendly future, according to Hila Oren, CEO and founder of Tel Aviv Global, a city initiative launched by the mayor’s office.

“Tel Aviv sees a lot of commercial foot traffic around the two areas of the city which will be connected by the new rooftop park,” Oren tells Tech Insider.

Ayalon highway
A current view of the Ayalon Highway. David King/Flickr

The demand is there.

To accommodate it, the park will feature lawns to relax on, sunny walkways, bike lanes, benches, tables, and a collection of plants that will both dampen noise from the traffic below and serve as “green lungs” for the city: taking in polluting carbon emissions and converting them into oxygen.

Ayalon highway
A mock-up of the park. Tel Aviv Global

“This new project will also serve to improve the overall quality of urban life in Tel Aviv, and ensure we can continue to attract top talent to come and work and live in the city,” Oren says.

The same mission drove architect James Corner to redesign New York City’s High Line — once a thriving path for locomotives on the island’s west side, and later a desolate patch of land — into an attractive pathway people actually want to visit.

Oren says the new park, designed by Lerman Architects, will serve three important functions:

  • The park will encourage people to walk or ride their bikes, reducing automobile pollution.
  • It will bridge two important, though distant, parts of the city on the east and west side.
  • The added space will also allow cafes and shops to come in, bringing jobs along with them.

“Moving forward,” Oren says, “my hope is that the success of this project will engender similarly innovative and ambitious projects around Israel and the world.”

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