After decades of building taller and taller buildings in order to give response to the continuous population growth, architects and civil engineers are looking down to find new answers.
With the ground-level becoming too crowded, the High Line became a fresh new approach, turning a 1.6 km (1 mile) section of an old line of the New York Central Railroad into an aerial park. Following this excellent construction, but now looking down, James Ramsey and Dan Barasch are trying to transform an abandoned trolley car station in NYC into an underground park. Abandoned since 1948, these two creative minds want to turn an obscured space into a green area, where trees and grass can grow thanks to a specific technology using fiber optics to take surface light to the underground, allowing photosynthesis while filtering ultraviolet rays. In order to turn it into a reality, James Ramsey and Dan Barasch successfully raised $100,000 on Kickstarter to build a mockup of the park. To watch a video of the project click here.
Meanwhile, Singapore is looking for more room and plans are being made in order to build an underground extension of the city, with “shopping malls, transportation hubs, public spaces, pedestrian links and even cycling lanes.” (read full article here)
In Montreal, however, there is already an underground city. This underground city known as RÉSO is, to be more accurate, a 32km (nearly 20 miles) extension of tunnels connecting apartment buildings, hotels, office buildings, shopping malls (partially underground), cinemas, supermarkets and even museums. Along the tunnels there are also stores and even some expo centers. Not actually a city in the true sense of the word, but the fact that it allows people to move from A to B hardly without going to the surface almost gives the idea that people are living below-street level.
Going underground could mean a huge change in the paradigm of city living. Below street-level abandoned areas giving place to green parks where, like in below-level houses, people are far from the ground-level noise, houses are free from extreme weather (like tornados or very low temperatures like in Montreal) and it is, apparently, an answer to the growing lack of space, not only to build but most importantly to live, as cities are becoming more and more crowded. However, they might become more exposed to an earthquake and access issues (to firemen or ambulances, for instance) could rise in case a catastrophe occurs.
If there’s creativity, there’s a way. And if growing up was seen as the only way for many years, now growing down seems to be the answer. Pressing needs are changing cities and creativity is giving a hand by coming up with answers to make them more livable.
To know more about the Low Line/Delancey Underground, click here.
To read more about Monreal’s Underground City, click here.