Finding solutions to urban issues is always a great thing to do. What’s even better is when architects, planners and visionaries make use of existing infrastructure and amenities to improve the urban fabric and the social conditions of neighborhoods and cities.
UPDATE: New York’s Lowline park recently got approval from the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President Maria Torres-Springer which means that soon, the underground park project will be a reality. While the Metropolitan Transit Authority had shown interest in the space last fall, the Lowline team was awarded conditional use due to the high community impact such a space would have.
In the near future, Lowline would become one of the first of a kind underground parks in the world!
Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen and NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer have announced New York City’s first official approval of the Lowline project in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
A few years ago, Lowline, a non-profit from New York came up with this brilliant concept of improving and expanding the green space in NYC. With most cities seeing a large scale boom in construction, land is scarce and expensive. Public spaces like lakes and parks are on the down-low. With green spaces playing a very important role in affecting the micro-climate and the psychology of regions, the guys at Lowline proposed to build a park in a 107-year-old underground trolley station! With technology that would bring in natural light through optic fibers, the concept seemed more than promising. For the last three years since their inception, Lowline has tied all loose ends, experimented with the tech to make sure everything works and engaged the community, introducing them to the idea of the park.
Going through the kickstarter campaign gives you great hope for the kind of space that will be created in an otherwise unused and neglected part of NYC. In doing so, a historic part of New York gets preserved and utilized for the greater good of the community and neighborhood.
With a multitude of urban issues scarring the Indian context, a greater emphasis needs to be given to restoring and replenishing existing resources. While throwing out the old and bringing in the new seems like the easiest choice, on the long run, it may cause more damage than do good. Parks and open spaces in Bangalore are dropping and even strict statutory requirements from parastatal bodies are not resulting in the desired effect. While spaces on the ground can be ruled out for small scale public amenities, utilization of unused spaces such as areas under flyovers and the metro lines, open-drains and nalas should be looked at as lung spaces within every neighborhood. Sooner or later, the implementation of laws requiring terrace areas to be green should really help the slow and systematic conversion of a larger-than-life concrete jungle into a softer, less-harsh urban context.
All video and photo content was used with permission from The Lowline.