Science

How NYC's Underground Park Will Stay Well-Lit And Alive

Winter makes you crazy because you spend so much time cooped up without fresh air or sunlight. With that in mind, some people in New York City have plans in the works for an underground park — the Lowline — to be built in an abandoned trolley station and lit through a remote skylight system.

Scientific American explains how light shines down there:

The remote skylight will use a reflective, parabolic solar collection dish outdoors to gather and concentrate sunlight. This dish will have a tracking mechanism so it can follow the sun across the sky. Fiber-optic cable will transmit captured solar radiation to the park; a series of domelike fixtures will use lenses and reflectors to distribute the light throughout the Lowline. The fiber-optic cables will allow Lowline organisers to set up as many remote skylight fixtures as they like.

There are also plans for plants that can subsist on low levels of light, like mosses, mushrooms, and Japanese Maples.

If you happen to be in NYC, you can see the remote skylight system on display in an exhibit going on this week. The Lowline itself is about five to eight years from being an actual thing, and it’s not a done deal yet — organisers still need permission from the city, which owns the train station. But when it does become real, winter will be a lot more pleasant. [Scientific American]