Move over, High Line. New York City authorities have approved the plans to transform an abandoned trolley tunnel into the world’s first underground park: The Lowline.
The subterranean park will be built on a former trolley turnaround point, which has been disused since 1948. It will feature sunken areas flooded with natural light and decorated with a botanical garden composed of mosses, ferns, and bromeliads.
A public space found deep beneath the ground might seem ambitious, but a prototype has already proven the concept works. Just two blocks away in a warehouse, Lowline co-founder and executive director Dan Barasch and his team were able to grow out-of-season plants (such as strawberries in March) under a solar canopy.
The project, though, still has many ways to go. It will need to raise $10 million, host site tours, and present schematics for further approval. The organisers will also have to reach out to the community, which has its share of critics who believe the Lowline will be a detriment to privacy and local businesses.
Alicia Glen, the deputy mayor for housing and economic development, is optimistic they’ll meet all these challenges. With over 70,000 visitors flocking to the prototype site since October 2015 – and with the plants still alive – she’s confident the Lowline will serve as inspiration for other urban projects in the future.
“We’re open for business for other crazy ideas,” she said.
Via City Lab