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Solar Tech Could Enable Underground Parks in Camped Cities

Image credit: Lowline

Image credit: Lowline

If there is some urgent demand for building space in cites, it would be quite difficult to maintain fast-growing cities green. However most people dislike living in a concrete jungle, they want to find the way out. So an American company came up with an unconventional solution: to build underground parks.

Inspired by the practice of New York City’s High Line, which has turned an abandoned elevated freight railway into a urban park, “Lowline” intends to resort to most advanced solar technology to rebuild a former trolley terminal into a public park.

Covering the area of one-acre and being abandoned in 1948, the former trolley terminal stands at the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where people regard it as one of the least green regions of New York City from the information provided by Lowline’s website.

Although it has been neglected for a quite long time, the location does have some unique characters, like old cobblestones and rail tracks, which would be well-preserved for presenting the vivid history of the location.

The concept proposed by the Lowline is two-fold functioned, one is to offer more public green space, and the other is to show in what innovative way solar technology could be applied for transformation of the cities. Besides offering a nice place for local residents to relax so as to escape from the hustle and bustle of the urban life city, the park would also be venues for various cultural events, art exhibitions as well as youth activities.

As for the illumination of the underground area and feeding of those plants and trees there, street-level reflective parabolas would be equipped for collecting sunlight and then directing it underground by the means of the fiber-optic cables. Afterwards, the light would be dispersed throughout the park by aiming it towards reflective dishes. The solar collectors will installed in the areas where lots of sunlight could be received and at the same time such solar collectors would be adjustable so as to follow the sun as it moves, in the way that could maximize the amount of light to be collected. If sunlight to be available is not sufficient, electricity would take the charge for illuminating the park as an alternative approach.

The investment for the project would be $60 million, most of which would be funded by private investors, but the government has agreed to pay some cash as well. At present $1 million has been raised for further development of its design and research.

It is anticipated that the construction would be started in coming five years’ time. However, at first, it is necessary for Lowline to deal with some technical problems, for example, finding out the best way to channel the sunlight that has bee collected in the underground area.

Source: LowlineAssociated Press and Gizmag

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