With the increasing pace of construction in the cities, it may be difficult to find vacant land to implement public space projects, such as building new parks and gardens. At the same time, no one enjoys living in a city with no touch of green and seeing nothing but concrete and asphalt all day. A US company has proposed quite an interesting solution to this problem – to build green public spaces underground.
In particular, it is planned to use solar technology to transform a former trolley terminal into an underground urban park called Lowline. The authors of the concept envision “a new kind of public space— one that highlights the historic elements of a former trolley terminal while introducing cutting-edge solar technology and design, enabling plants and trees to grow underground.” The project was inspired by New York City’s High Line Park, an elevated park built on an abandoned rail freight line.
The Lowline will be constructed at the former trolley terminal in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, which is in close proximity to the Essex Street subway stop. According to the project initiators, this area is “one of the least green areas of New York City — presenting a unique opportunity to reclaim unused space for public good”.
As stated at the Lowline’s website, the idea of the project is not only to build more green public spaces, but also to show how cities can be transformed using innovative technologies. It is expected that the underground park will host different cultural events and social activities, and will offer city residents a recreation area, where they will have the opportunity to take a rest from the crazy rhythm of the city.
How exactly will the light be channeled underground? The ceiling of the underground area, covered with reflective dishes, will be illuminated via fiber-optic cables, which, in turn, will receive sunlight from parabola-shaped solar reflectors placed above ground.
These reflectors will have to be positioned in areas that get enough sunlight all year round, and will be set to align themselves to follow the sun as it moves, which will allow maximum exposure to sunlight. The system will transmit the wavelengths of light required for photosynthesis, which will enable plants and trees of the underground park to thrive.
The estimated cost of the project is $60 million, most of which will come from private investors, but the government will participate too, allocating some money from the budget. The construction is hoped to begin by 2017 and will last for about a year.
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Image credits: TheLowLine.org