Inspired by the amazing success of Chelsea’s High line, architect James Ramsey and Dan Barasch introduced the Delancey Underground project, aiming to convert an unused trolley terminal beneath Delancey Street (just under the Essex Street Market) into an extraordinary subterranean public park– nicknamed the “LowLine.” Local businesses, residents, community leaders, and political stakeholders alike have voiced considerable enthusiasm for the idea. They are now focused on increasing this broad public support, and are preparing in earnest to make this vision a reality.
But the Delancey Underground is more than an economic revitalization opportunity– it also represents cutting edge design and a new generation of green technology. It is at the heart of a broader global discussion about the potential of remnant urban infrastructure, and the need for cities to re-invent the meaning of space– above and below ground.
The project also envisions a fresh approach to solar technology– using innovative fiber optics to reflect light underground, saving electricity and reducing carbon emissions, and generating the capacity for plants, trees, and grasses to thrive indoors. The “LowLine” is essentially part of the next phase in urban design, in which human scale and increasing resource scarcity force us to imagine smarter, more creative use of public spaces.
What will this underground green space become? As the High Line has proven, a stunning public park can provide tremendous opportunities for creative expression, while challenging assumptions of the way humans work, live, commute, and interact. The Delancey Underground project envisions a year-round programming series, which invites the community into the space in new ways.
From art exhibitions, to farmers’ markets, to educational series, tospecial events and promotions– this space will be more than a space. It will generate community, and it will inspire in the way beautiful environments can inspire.