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Inside New York City’s Amazing New Underground Park

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By Cooper Fleishman on May 17, 2012

When you want to build a park in New York City, there’s nowhere to go but down.


The Delancey Underground, a.k.a. the LowLine, in development by architects and designers Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, will be a 60,000-square-foot park built beneath Delancey Street in the former Williamsburg Trolley Terminal, which was abandoned in 1948.

The project just completed a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising more than $155,000. They’re now raising money for a free public exhibition of the solar technology this September.

Check out these renderings of the futuristic park below. (Click to embiggen.)

(Images via DelanceyUnderground.org.)

From Barasch and Ramsay:

The Delancey Underground project aims to convert an unused trolley terminal beneath Delancey Street into an extraordinary subterranean public park — nicknamed the “LowLine.” Inspired by the amazing impact of the High Line, local businesses, residents, community leaders, and political stakeholders alike have voiced considerable enthusiasm for the idea. We are now focused on increasing this broad public support, and are preparing in earnest to make this vision a reality.

But the Delancey Underground is more than an economic revitalization opportunity — it also represents cutting edge design and a new generation of green technology. It is at the heart of a broader global discussion about the potential of remnant urban infrastructure, and the need for cities to re-invent the meaning of space– above and below ground. The project also envisions a fresh approach to solar technology — using innovative fiber optics to reflect light underground, saving electricity and reducing carbon emissions, and generating the capacity for plants, trees, and grasses to thrive indoors. The LowLine is essentially part of the next phase in urban design, in which human scale and increasing resource scarcity force us to imagine smarter, more creative use of public spaces.

What will this underground green space become? As the High Line has proven, a stunning public park can provide tremendous opportunities for creative expression, while challenging assumptions of the way humans work, live, commute, and interact. The Delancey Underground project envisions a year-round programming series, which invites the community into the space in new ways. From art exhibitions, to farmers’ markets, to educational series, to special events and promotions, this space will be more than a space. It will generate community, and it will inspire in the way beautiful environments can inspire.

The process of bringing in light from outside via fiber-optic cables is the coolest part:

James Ramsey of Raad Studio has designed a new technology that directs sunlight below ground via fiber optic cables. Solar collectors placed at street level collect sunlight throughout the day, and that light is then reflected below ground. While the light emitted below ground does not emit the ultraviolet rays harmful to skin, it does distribute the light wavelengths supporting photosynthesis — enabling plants, trees, and grasses to grow.

(via Design Taxi)


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