Quantcast

New York City Soon to Be Home to World’s First Underground Park

Business

An abandoned trolley terminal in New York City will soon be home to the world's first underground park. The Lowline, a lush underground forest powered by advanced solar technology, is "one step closer to becoming a reality," The Verge reported.

The ambitious project sits one story below Delancey St. and directly adjacent to the existing JMZ subway track at the Essex St. subway stop. It will be the size of a football field when complete.

Spearheaded by co-founders James Ramsey and Dan Barasch, the Lowline will host trees and plants such as philodendrons, dwarf snake plants, spiderworts, nettles and Spanish moss.

The coolest part? The flora will thrive off of actual sunlight in this underground arboretum thanks to solar technology designed by Ramsey's firm, Raad Studio.

"The proposed solar technology of the Lowline involves the creation of a remote skylight, whereby sunlight passes through a glass shield above a parabolic collector, is reflected and gathered at one focal point, and directed underground," the creators explained on their website.

"Sunlight is transmitted onto a reflective surface on the distributor dish underground, transmitting that sunlight into the space. This technology would transmit the necessary wavelengths of light to support photosynthesis, enabling plants and trees to grow."

This graphic shows how the team will bring actual sunlight underground. Photo credit: The Lowline

Ramsey and Barasch came up with the idea of a subterranean oasis in 2009 and made many headlines soon after. Ramsey, who is also an ex-NASA engineer, first conceptualized this design while building satellites for the space agency, The Verge reported.

The park was given a similar moniker to New York City's Highline, a linear park built on a disused railroad. The Lowline makes use of a site that has unused for the past six decades and brings much-needed green space New York City dwellers, especially during in the city's typically harsh winters.

"The site itself is located at the very heart of the Lower East Side, and today, it still remains one of the most crowded neighborhoods in the city," as Barasch, a former Google strategist, said in his TEDTalk last year. "New York City has two-thirds the green space per resident as other big cities and this neighborhood has one-tenth of the green space."

According to the project's timeline, the Lowline team is currently negotiating with the MTA and the city to build and operate the underground park. After negotiations are finalized, a capital campaign to support construction will be launched.

The Verge reported that the founders are also working out certain kinks such as making the city’s "request for expressions of interest" Feb. 1 deadline and figuring out details for concessions and hours of operation, as well as raising funds for the expensive project. The Lowline is reportedly expected to cost between $44 million and $77 million to build, and $2 million to $4 million annually to operate.

The project completed a successful $223,506 Kickstarter campaign in October to construct their Lowline Lab, which is currently a research space for lighting and horticulture experiments, and is now open to the public for visits and community events.

The underground park is planned to open by 2020.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE 

World’s First Off-Grid EcoCapsule Runs Entirely on Renewable Energy

Couple Builds Greenhouse Around Home to Grow Food and Keep Warm

Brad Pitt’s Nonprofit Delivers LEED Platinum Homes to Fort Peck Reservation

6 Super Cool Tiny Houses Made From Shipping Containers

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Yulia Lisitsa / iStock / Getty Images

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Many people follow the lacto-vegetarian diet for its flexibility and health benefits.

Read More Show Less

By Jared Kaufman

Eating a better diet has been linked with lower levels of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. But unfortunately 821 million people — about 1 in 9 worldwide — face hunger, and roughly 2 billion people worldwide are overweight or obese, according to the U.N. World Health Organization. In addition, food insecurity is associated with even higher health care costs in the U.S., particularly among older people. To help direct worldwide focus toward solving these issues, the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals call for the elimination of hunger, food insecurity and undernutrition by 2030.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
Healthline

Made from the freshly sprouted leaves of Triticum aestivum, wheatgrass is known for its nutrient-dense and powerful antioxidant properties.

Read More Show Less

mevans / E+ / Getty Images

The federal agency that manages the Great Barrier Reef issued an unprecedented statement that broke ranks with Australia's conservative government and called for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

A powerful earthquake struck near Athens, Greece and shook the capital city for 15 seconds on Friday, causing people to run into the streets to escape the threat of falling buildings, NBC News reported.

Read More Show Less
U.S. government scientists concluded in a new report that last month was the hottest June on record. Angelo Juan Ramos / Flickr

By Jessica Corbett

As meteorologists warned Thursday that temperatures above 100°F are expected to impact two-thirds of the country this weekend, U.S. government scientists revealed that last month was the hottest June ever recorded — bolstering calls for radical global action on the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less
Rod Waddington / CC BY-SA 2.0

By John R. Platt

For years now conservationists have warned that many of Madagascar's iconic lemur species face the risk of extinction due to rampant deforestation, the illegal pet trade and the emerging market for the primates' meat.

Yes, people eat lemurs, and the reasons they do aren't exactly what we might expect.

Read More Show Less