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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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A Pop-Up Public Park That Moves Around the City

A Pop-Up Public Park That Moves Around the City | green streets | Scoop.it

Design students and a nonprofit theater group created a “park-in-a-cart” to serve the fast-growing city of El Alto, Bolivia.   

In this dense city, driven by commerce at all scales, streets, sidewalks, and communal spaces are often transformed into informal markets, where vendors and minibuses compete for real estate. While this competition brings vitality, it requires novel methods of occupying urban space for play.

The pop-up playground aims to do just that.

Over three summers, the International Design Clinic (IDC), a “guerrilla design” collective, has collaborated with Teatro Trono to design and build a pair of mutable, movable playspaces that will help the organization expand its activism into El Alto’s public space. The areas currently designated for children in El Alto are scant and often ill-maintained.

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Lola Ripollés's curator insight, September 10, 2015 2:49 AM

Estábamos acostumbrados a tiendas " pop up", pero qué opináis de esta propuesta para un parque "pop up"? Estudiantes bolivianos proponen un parque en un coche!

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Seattle's New Streetlights Are 40-Foot-Tall Singing Flowers

Seattle's New Streetlights Are 40-Foot-Tall Singing Flowers | green streets | Scoop.it
The immense plants live under the Space Needle and blast anybody passing underneath with a harmony of voices.


Under the Space Needle, 40-foot-tall flowers acting both as lamps and troubadours that croon when people get near. The Pacific Science Center commissioned this trippy artwork for its novel design and use of solar electricity – the petals of each "flower" are studded with photovoltaic cells that allow them to shimmer in vibrant hues.

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Laura Brown's comment, August 27, 2013 8:22 PM
They'll look like an alien invasion in winter.
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Multimodal Interchange by Tetrarc Architects

Multimodal Interchange by Tetrarc Architects | green streets | Scoop.it

Tetrarc Architect’s designs for a public transport hub in Saint-Nazaire, France were recently completed. The projects – a bus shelter and a bridge – make up two points in this multi-modal interchange designed to accommodate increasing bus and rail traffic in Saint-Nazaire, while catering to pedestrians and their comfort.


The bus shelter runs parallel to the public square in front of Saint-Nazaire’s train station. The dynamic form and bright yellow hue of the roof adds visual interest to grey surroundings and makes the roof-cover a focal point, drawing pedestrians to it. It gives the impression of speed that is realised in the function of the shelter as a traffic-easing intervention. Daylighting is maximised in the shelter as the gap between its two canopies admits sunlight and a view to the sky. The glossy finish overhead and the shiny columns also reflect light, increasing visual effects both day and night. The overhang protects pedestrians from rain while glass-walled waiting areas shield passengers from the wind, all while maintaining visual connections to the surroundings.

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Superkilen: A Neighborhood Park in Copenhagen Reflects the Community's Urban Diversity

Superkilen: A Neighborhood Park in Copenhagen Reflects the Community's Urban Diversity | green streets | Scoop.it

The nearly mile-long Superkilen park in Denmark is a bold attempt to create a new identity for an “ethnically diverse and socially challenged” neighborhood in Copenhagen, Denmark.


An in-depth community outreach process organized by the city has led to a place like no other, with a sequence of plazas that honor different ethnics groups living in the area. Designed by Bjarke Ingels’ firm, BIG, landscape architecture firm, Topotek 1, and artists’ group, Superflex, the massive project also accomplished a lot with a little budget: at just $34 per square foot, the landscape “packs a lot of bang for the buck.”


The project, which has recently been all over the design press, also just took home the AIA Institute Honor Award for urban and regional design and an annual design award from Architect Magazine in the “play” category. 

The AIA jury wrote: “This is not only original, but stunning to behold. It is noteworthy for its aesthetic approach, which is straightforwardly artificial rather than pretending to be natural. One of the project’s most exciting dimensions is its inclusion of the diverse community of users. Its bold use of color and public art in spaces that promote social interaction and engagement all exude a high level of excitement and energy through what once looked like residual space. Superkilen shows what can be done with an open, inventive approach within severe cost limitations. It demonstrates the value of powerful visual and spatial moves while keeping connected to the realities of a contemporary multicultural context: the condition of many European cities.”

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Reinventing the Payphone: Designs for NYC's Future Public Smartphones...

Reinventing the Payphone: Designs for NYC's Future Public Smartphones... | green streets | Scoop.it

When Mayor Bloomberg announced New York City’s Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge last winter, it was an opportunity to see how designers would reimagine these idle relics of last century’s infrastructure into something other than a shading device for smartphone-browsing in sunny weather.


From the looks of the finalists, which Bloomberg announced Tuesday, tomorrow’s payphone could have a lot of app-style features, from weather reports and wayfinding to voice and gesture control.


A handful of New York’s roughly 11,000 payphones already serve as wifi hotspots thanks to a pilot program launched by the city last summer, so the leap to hyperconnectivity isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem. A few years down the line, we could all be using a shiny new network of payphones to call taxis by voice command, charge our devices, check the weather for our urban farms, and, inevitably, look at ads.

The six finalists are chosen in five categories—creativity, connectivity, functionality, community impact, and visual design.


Visit the article link to view the proposals and learn more about what may be the payphone of the future...

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D'Dline 2020 ✏ 's curator insight, March 10, 2013 5:26 AM

Nouveaux styles, nouvelles fonctions pour des cabines téléphoniques du futur 

kaja jacobs's curator insight, March 11, 2013 11:20 AM

looks so cool but people can do what you are doing not so cool

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How to Transform a Waterfront: Project for Public Spaces

How to Transform a Waterfront: Project for Public Spaces | green streets | Scoop.it

As more cities envision their waterfronts as lively public destinations that keep people coming back, PPS outlines the following principles to make that happen.


They are not all hard and fast laws, but rules of thumb drawn from 32 years of experience working to improve urban waterfronts around the world. These ideas can serve as the framework for any waterfront project seeking to create vibrant public spaces, and, by extension, a vibrant city.

Lauren Moss's insight:
Visit the article link for more information on the strategies and concepts outlined, including the following:

  •  Make public goals the primary objective
  • Create a shared community vision
  • Create multiple destinations
  • Optimize public access
  • Use parks to connect destinations
  • Design and program buildings to engage the public space
  • Support multiple modes of transportation and limit vehicular access
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Lorraine Chaffer's comment, June 3, 2013 6:35 AM
Making places for people improves liveability
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Multi Use Infrastructure at Its Most Innovative

Multi Use Infrastructure at Its Most Innovative | green streets | Scoop.it

New York City is certainly willing to pay top dollar for excellent design with a new $3 billion water treatment plant taking shape in Van Cortlandt park in the Bronx. The Croton water treatment by Grimshaw Architects and Ken Smith Landscape Architects includes some $250 million in new buildings, plazas, wetlands and meadows, and a public golf driving range, which, amazingly, sits right on top of the plant.

In a session at the 2012 ASLA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Ken Smith, ASLA, Ken Smith Landscape Architects; David Burke, Grimshaw Architects; and Charles McKinney, Affiliate ASLA, City of New York, Department of Parks and Recreation, explained how the project is the result of NYC’s design, stormwater management, and parks policies. And while these numerous policies and design requirements were sometimes in conflict, said Smith, the design eventually succeeded because it cleverly integrated security and stormwater management features with public amenities...

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A Green Park in Philly's Master Plan

A Green Park in Philly's Master Plan | green streets | Scoop.it

Philadelphia’s colonial master plan featured five squares: two to the east, two to the west, and one at the center. Inspired by Parisian boulevards, city planners cut through the plan to make way for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at the turn of the last century. The central and northwest squares became circles swirling round the Louvre-inspired City Hall and fountains designed by Alexander Stirling Calder at Logan Circle to the northwest. For nearly a century civic dreams of museums and cafes lining the entire parkway remained just dreams, until now. In the last year alone, four major landscape designs were completed or broke ground on the parkway, with Sister Cities Park on Logan Circle being the latest to open last month...

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San Francisco To Help Citizens Create “Better Streets”

San Francisco To Help Citizens Create “Better Streets” | green streets | Scoop.it
One of Jane Jacobs’ most valuable contributions to the understanding of cities was her faith in the wisdom of the urban dweller. She argued that the physical city—and any approach to city planning—could not be separated from the wisdom of each individual inhabitant, “People who know well such animated city streets will know how it is. I am afraid people who do not will always have it a little wrong in their heads, like the old prints of rhinoceroses made from travelers’ descriptions of rhinoceroses.” The complication arising from Jacobs’ argument is simple though difficult to solve; how can we plan a city when planning is one part abstraction and abstraction removes us from Jacobs’ precious “real life” mentality?

 

A step towards solving this contradiction is sfbetterstreets.org, a website launched last week by the City of San Francisco. Developed by the San Francisco Planning Department in conjunction with other city agencies, the website is part of the city’s larger, “Better Streets” initiative. The legislative concept, described in San Francisco’s Better Streets Plan, is to create streets “designed and built to strike a balance between all users regardless of physical abilities or mode of travel… maximizing features for the comfort, usability, and aesthetics of people walking.”

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The Streetcar As a City's Moving Symbol

The Streetcar As a City's Moving Symbol | green streets | Scoop.it
A survey of light rail aesthetics from around the world.

With shrinking government budgets and transit usage on the rise, the above-ground streetcar (or tram) is making a comeback. Beyond their efficiency (not to mention their affordability compared to subway expansions), streetcars add a visual charm to any city, no matter the make or model or even the location it serves.

Still, in many ways, the type of rail car a city employs can say a lot about the place. Some of the older ones can suggest a city's affinity for it's history (Milan) or perhaps its lower budget (Poznan). New ones can suggest a city's growing density levels (Seattle and San Diego) or just its attempts to modernize (Athens and Lisbon).

The diversity of cityscapes as well as an equally diverse set of streetcar designs ended up making for a more interesting tour than expected...

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How to make public transit popular | SmartPlanet

How to make public transit popular | SmartPlanet | green streets | Scoop.it
One Canadian city shows how smart technology can help get people out of their cars and onto city buses and other forms of public transportation.

 

Public transportation usage is at a record high in the Canadian city of Brampton. Ridership increased 18 percent in 2011, tripling the national average of five percent in the first six months of last year, according to the Canadian Urban Transit Association. All told, 16.3 million riders made use of Brampton Transit in 2011, 2.5 million more than in 2010, which had already seen a 12 percent increase in ridership.

The uptick is largely due to the introduction of Brampton’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system, called Züm. Xerox helped the city launch a SmartBus system to work with its new BRT system.

“Making public transportation more predictable and easier to use makes it more popular,” said Alex Milojevic, senior manager of Business Strategies at Brampton Transit. “Xerox installed systems that our riders now depend on and that we use to provide award-winning service.”

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Can a Highway Median Become an Alluring Public Space?

Can a Highway Median Become an Alluring Public Space? | green streets | Scoop.it
That's the question in Miami, where a design firm has created a temporary pop-up park, complete with sod and seating.

On one side of Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard is a thriving downtown, filled with condos and office towers. On the other side is the Atlantic Ocean, and in a few choice locations, nice waterfront parks. The division between – Biscayne – has four lanes in each direction and a 100-foot median in between that carries overhead rail tracks and parking lots. All in all, it’s a pretty wide barrier between the people and the parks.

“It’s not convenient or easy or neighborhood-accessible,” says Tony Garcia, a principal at the Street Plans Collaborative, an urban planning, design, and advocacy firm.

Instead of trying to cross the barrier, Garcia tried to bring the park closer to the people, temporarily converting the median into a pop-up public park. In partnership with the engineering and architecture firm C3TS, Garcia coordinated with the city’s parking authority to take over a 60-space lot for a week to lay down sod and put up benches...

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Walk the Green Carpet

Walk the Green Carpet | green streets | Scoop.it

Public artists Gaëlle Villedary helped the French village of Jaujac celebrate the 10th year of its arts and nature trail programs by cutting a new green path through its city center. Using some 168 rollers of turf grass, spanning 420 meters (or nearly 1,400 feet), the public artists wound 3.5 tons of natural material through the streets of the old town...

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Site-Specific Innovation: Çanakkale Antenna Tower by IND and Powerhouse Company

Site-Specific Innovation: Çanakkale Antenna Tower by IND and Powerhouse Company | green streets | Scoop.it

The close collaboration of Rotterdam-based practices IND and Powerhouse Company for the design of a new 100-m-tall observation and telecommunications tower in Çanakkale, a Turkish city and seaport located on the southern Asian coast of the Hellespont,  articulates far-reaching technological and programmatic ambitions.

The tower is planned to operate as a broadcast antenna as well as to engage visitors- taking them on a contemplative journey, allowing them time to ponder as they walk along a raised, looping path that runs through the forest before returning to a hilltop observation deck offering panoramic vistas.
Besides its distinctive and aesthetic significance, the tower was conceived with the intention becoming a dynamic public destination, fostering social interactions. The project is all the more interesting as it integrates technologies to a scrupulously context-specific design, respectful of all of the site’s attributes. The architects also harness technological mediums so as to create a heightened architectural experience, appealing the visual and tactile senses.

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Herzog & de Meuron and Hassell win Melbourne station competition

Herzog & de Meuron and Hassell win Melbourne station competition | green streets | Scoop.it

Herzog & de Meuron and Hassell win the competition to overhaul Melbourne's iconic Flinders Street Station.

The winning design includes the construction of a new barrel-vaulted roof structure that envelops the station and brings light and ventilation onto both new and improved station concourses. The architects also plan to add a new public art gallery dedicated to oceanic and contemporary art, a public plaza, a marketplace, an amphitheatre and a permanent home for some of the city's cultural festival organisations.


"Our proposal respects the heritage, improves all aspects of the transport hub, and underscores its central civic nature with new cultural and public functions for all residents and visitors to Melbourne," says the design team on the competition website.


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+POOL: The World's First Floating Water-Filtering Aquatic Facility, NYC

+POOL:  The World's First Floating Water-Filtering Aquatic Facility, NYC | green streets | Scoop.it

Born of the desire to swim in new york city's rivers, '+pool', the world's first floating water-filtering aquatic facility, will be the largest publicly funded civic project ever.

Three new yorkers have worked with international engineering and design firms such as ARUP to create '+pool', the world's first recreational floating aquatic filtering facility. The layered structure is designed to purify river water, over a half million gallons daily.

Composed of four sections forming the '+', the program is designed to accommodate everyone -- children and adults, athletes and bathers alike. the project is finished 'tile by tile', where each block is inscribed with a name or personal message of a sponsor or group of sponsors who donate over 25 USD.

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25,000 LEDs: the World's Largest Digital Light Sculpture

25,000 LEDs: the World's Largest Digital Light Sculpture | green streets | Scoop.it

This month marked the official opening of the world's largest digital light sculpture- the Bay Lights in Northern California...


The Bay Lights is the world’s largest LED light sculpture, 1.8 miles wide and 500 feet high. Inspired by the Bay Bridge’s 75th Anniversary, its 25,000 white LED lights are individually programmed to create a never-repeating, dazzling display across the Bay Bridge West Span through 2015.

Drawing inspiration from the surroundings and the dynamic nature of the water below, artist Leo Villareal leveraged digital technology and innovative software to develop and realize the design...

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Traveling the Entire Length of California by Local Transit

Traveling the Entire Length of California by Local Transit | green streets | Scoop.it

A new state rail map shows that it can be done — should you be crazy enough to try it.

Local transit maps tend to stay local. Some designate connections to other lines or systems but it's not really their purpose to expand the map beyond the metropolitan area — say, the way road atlases do. Recently a California design team did what local agencies don't: created a statewide rail map with more than 500 destinations served by ten rail authorities plus Amtrak, ferry, and major bus connections.


The California Rail Map inspired us to find a way to travel north through the whole state, beginning just across the Mexican border, riding only local transit — no Amtrak or Greyhound. Twu guided us through the following inland route through the Sierra Nevada range. ("I suspect it is also a beautiful trip," he says.) The itinerary runs through five systems and only requires seven transfers:

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A Jungle Gym for City Sidewalks

A Jungle Gym for City Sidewalks | green streets | Scoop.it
A knotty lattice of colorful play-tubes is an intriguing use of a public space.


They say the city is an urban jungle. But an urban jungle gym? A\V Studio‘s new design for a spunky tubular playground at the foot of Morphosis’ Cooper Union New Academic Building proposes just that. "CMYPlay" is a knotty lattice of colorful play-tubes embedded in the ground floor of the Morphosis building, with crawl spaces wrapped around slanting columns and each other in a dense social thicket "befitting of Manhattan." The fanciful design is an appealing gesture and an intriguing use of what is virtually empty space.


An entry to the 3Dimensional Front,"CMYPlay" creates an interactive space outside the Milavec Hakimi Gallery at 41 Cooper Square. A\V Studio’s proposal "thickens" the facade by rehabilitating the underskirt area as an active social space within the local city fabric.

Burrowing visitors will (quite literally) run into strangers and colleagues alike, while the tops of the tubes can be street furniture. The clash of color and use of plastic are a pointed contrast to the details and surfaces of the Morphosis building. Also, the tubes could be recycled and sent to various playgrounds and schools to be re-used...

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Projecting the Social Life of Small Urban Stoops

Projecting the Social Life of Small Urban Stoops | green streets | Scoop.it

New Yorkers like to believe that they’ve perfected stoop sitting culture, but half a world away in Auckland, New Zealand, experimental design collaborative

Oh.No.Sumo has taken stoop sitting a step higher. As part of St. Paul Street Gallery‘s 2012 exhibition program of curatorial practice, Oh.No.Sumo created a small-scale tactical intervention forming an unexpected theater on a small stoop where the steps are the seats. Responding to the intersection’s lack of social life and the public’s retreat into smart-phone isolation, the Stairway Cinema creates a communal node and conversation piece.

Built from a structural pine skeleton and covered in a waterproof, tactile red fabric, Stairway Cinema projects movies shared on the Internet via social media onto a screen visible both from the stoop and the sidewalk in an attempt to remake the once-isolating medium of smart phones into the art that brings community together. According to the designers, “Our ongoing goal is to experiment with architecture and the way it can engage with the public in unique and exciting ways.”

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Plug-In Plaza | The Infrastructure of the Times Square Makeover

Plug-In Plaza | The Infrastructure of the Times Square Makeover | green streets | Scoop.it
Last September, the Bloomberg administration announced architecture firm Snøhetta’s plans for a makeover of the Great Crossroads into a 21st-century pedestrian plaza with futuristic touches like metallic tiles and zoomy slab benches. Then silence as the current décor of junky bistro chairs and peeling paint polka dots seemed to settle in for the ages. The $45 million plan due to be complete by 2014 has been waiting on Con Edison.

Times Square needs extensive subterranean work before the future can get underway. The outdated infrastructure beneath the street, including 19th-century trolley tracks and gas mains now being replaced by some serious backstage (that is, below-grade) infrastructure to support one of the world’s great outdoor stages.

No longer will visitors simply look up at the energy of Times Square; they’ll be sitting on it, too. The long granite sculptural benches indicating the thrust of the Great White Way will now carry electrical currents of up to 400 amps. The new entertainment infrastructure with fiber-optic connectivity will be the first of its kind in the city and could have implications for other event venues likely to pop up on 34th and Broadway, Madison Square, Union Square, and other plazas in Midtown...

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Remember the Edges! Placemaking for Communities

Remember the Edges!  Placemaking for Communities | green streets | Scoop.it

One of the key principles to remember when trying to create a great public square is that the inner square and outer square must work together. Active edges (sidewalk cafes, museums, shops) feed into the center; in turn, a lively scene at the heart of a square creates a buzz that draws more people to the area, generating more activity for edge uses. It’s symbiotic!

The video above illustrates this principle using imagery from our study of Alamo Plaza in San Antonio, Texas. Home to one of the most iconic buildings in America, the plaza itself is more of a place to stand for a photo op than a place where people linger and enjoy. As you can see, creating a sense of connection and flow between the inner and outer square is key to success.

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Explaining Transit's Secret Language

Explaining Transit's Secret Language | green streets | Scoop.it
In his new book, blogger-turned-author Jarrett Walker shows how transportation really works.

 

Walker, a consultant known for his Human Transit blog, sees his audience as "a curious and thoughtful person who cares about whether we find our way to more rational forms of urban mobility." To that end he clarifies many misguided perceptions held by those concerned with better transit development.

Instead of focusing on speed, we should elevate frequency; instead of debating technology (e.g. light rail v. bus) we should consider geometry; instead of glorifying direct service we should build more connections; instead of linking transit with restraint we should associate it with the "freedom to move."

Walker recently offered a few more transit insights to the humans who read Atlantic Cities...

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Los Angeles Seeks Pedestrians

Los Angeles Seeks Pedestrians | green streets | Scoop.it
A pilot project aims to pave the way for community-led reuses of L.A. streets.

The automobile is undoubtedly the dominant mode of travel in Los Angeles. But to write off the city as made up entirely of car-driving, bumper-to-bumper rush hour commuters is clearly an over-generalization. A growing group of Angelenos is finding ways to make transit, cycling, and walking (and, often, a combination thereof) relevant and viable in their daily lives.

A physical example of this transition opened this weekend in the city’s Silver Lake neighborhood. On a short strip of street bordering a small triangular park within a vibrant commercial area, officials from the city’s departments of planning, transportation, and public works partnered with the county’s public health department to close the street off to car traffic and convert it into an outdoor plaza. On 11,000 square-feet, the roadway has been effectively removed form the automobile grid with the simple application of paint (in glowing neon green polka-dots), bike racks and planters around the edges and seating in the middle. The project was inspired by similar street plazas created in New York City and San Francisco.

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Kickstarting Urban Renewal with an Underground Park

Kickstarting Urban Renewal with an Underground Park | green streets | Scoop.it
An underground park in Manhattan is turning to Kickstarter to build the public support it needs to make the pipe dream a reality.

 

If this is the first you’ve heard about it, the Delancey Underground is a concept for transforming a defunct trolley terminal for streetcars coming off the Williamsburg Bridge into public space. The design would preserve the hub's unique, turn-of-the-century features, including cobblestones, rail tracks and vaulted ceilings, while integrating green design technologies, like fiber optic cables to bring natural sunlight underground. The space is nicknamed the "LowLine," a below-ground version of the beloved High Line, the park installed in abandoned tracks high above New York's Chelsea neighborhood in 2009.

If all goes well, the space will become home to more than just park-goers on a cold or rainy day. Think art installations, farmers markets, and concerts...

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