Inner-city overpass transformed into vibrant community space
Perhaps the highways and bridges that fill many major cities could be put to better use. Such is the thinking behind One Green Mile, by MVRDV, which has turned a large disused area underneath an overpass in Mumbai, India, into a vibrant, greenery filled community space.
One Green Mile was created in collaboration with StudioPOD. The idea behind it is quite similar to MVRDV's Seoullo 7017 Skygarden, though that project situated a park above the highway – perhaps the two ideas can be combined in the future.
Despite its name, One Green Mile actually only measures 800 m (2,626 ft) in length at present. It's located under the Senapati Bapat Marg overpass in the heart of Mumbai and involved enlivening the flat landscape with tiny hills and valleys.
It's divided into multiple areas with different functions including a children's play area, lounge area, gym, a shaded seating spot, a performance space, a reading room, as well as bike and walking paths. Greenery covers much of the space, in planters, screens, and on retaining walls, which will of course continue to grow. The idea is that all the plants will help cool the immediate area and act as a barrier to noise pollution.
All that greenery naturally needs lots of water, so One Green Mile has a rainwater collection system that stores and filters the area's seasonal monsoon water for irrigation. Looking to the future, a planned extension is expected to expand the public space's length to 3 km (1.8 miles).
"Perhaps one day we will see the end of noisy, unpleasant highways carving up our cities, but for now they are still unfortunately a necessary evil – one you can see in Mumbai more than most cities," said MVRDV partner Stefan de Koning. "One Green Mile asks the question: what if we expected highways to give something back to the places they cut through? A flyover can provide some shade in a hot city, and creates a small area of land that can't be developed with tall buildings. It's not such a crazy idea to make that into a public space."