Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, the co-founders of the LowLine concept (which gets its name and entrepreneurial spirit from New York's renowned High Line linear park) stumbled upon an unused and long neglected 13-acre former stretch of trolley terminal underneath Delancey Street, built in 1903 in New York’s Lower East Side. Decrying the neighbourhood's lack of green space, they thought that the abandoned space would make for an ideal park. I know what you're thinking, because I thought the same thing too. How do you have a park underground with no trees, no grass and no light?
Well, it seems that Ramsey, current principal at RAAD studios, was formerly a NASA satellite engineer and he developed the Remote Skylight. This technology is a fiber optic cable that concentrates sunlight at the surface, carries underground and redistributes the sunlight, creating enough energy to start the photosynthesis process. Goodbye darkness. Hello plants, trees and flowers.
So far, the proposal has garnered a lot of interest among urbanites around the world and gained some traction with the City of New York. The duo recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $100,000 to help them build a full-scale model to demonstrate the technology and the viability of an underground park.
I don't doubt for a second that the LowLine will get built because New York just seems to get it. This is why some cities are so sick and amazing - they're willing to take a chance and be crazy. And being
crazy is a good thing.