Park Producer James Corner

Oct 5, 2009
Outside Magazine
James Corner

   Photo: Photograph by Chris Buck

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Corner isn't much into scenic overlooks. "The deeper part of landscape experience comes through physical engagement—using it," he says. His most celebrated project thus far, a stunning walking park on Manhattan's abandoned High Line railroad, will certainly get a lot of use. Eventually, so will the park he's slowly "growing" at the infamous Fresh Kills landfill, on nearby Staten Island. (His master plan calls for natural soil generation, and it will take some 30 years for the park to be completely open.) Corner, 47, the chairman of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design and principal of James Corner Field Operations, with offices in New York and Philadelphia, is a leading figure in the cadre of landscape architects redefining their profession with massive projects that reclaim disturbed urban spaces and make them, well, fun. To Corner, this means amplifying existing attributes—even garbage mounds. "Using design to heighten experience is different than just laying out a park with trails or open spaces," he says. "We're trying to dramatize things."

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