Decoding Design

The LowLine reaches Kickstarter goal, and some

Posting in Architecture

The buzz around the innovative idea to put a park in an underground abandoned strain station is only growing now that they have surpassed their Kickstarter goal by over $50,000

The Delancey Underground project has been circulating for some time now, in fact it was the subject of one of my very first posts here at SmartPlanet. It's intriguing-- an underground park in a dank,  abandoned New York City subway stop?

This was back in late September of 2011. Now, the group's Kickstarter has announced that not only had the Low Line project hit its Kickstarter goal, it had surpassed it by more than $50,000. The update from the Low Line team said that their $155,000 of crowd-funded money was a record high for any urban renewal project.

Back when the idea was first revealed, I wrote, "If successful it could change the way we think about unused underground space." This remains to be true, and it also remains to be seen whether a project like this can be successful.

The idea hasn't lost any of its appeal-- its still really cool to think about using all abandoned spaces, even if they are below ground.  But given the massive amount of work and technology it will take to transform an underground space into a place where one might want to be (I spend most of my time trying to get out of the subway stations) will require much more than the Kickstarter funds.

So what are the next steps for the Low Line? First, more fundraising. The group announced the "Lower East Side Friends of the LowLine" fundraiser being held next week, to raise funds and also try to spur more neighborhood involvement.

The founders, Dan Barasch and James Ramsey also announced that they have begun work on their tech demonstration slated for this September called the "mini-LowLine park" to show how the special technology needed to build the park will work.

For those in New York, for the next week the Mark Miller Gallery in the Lower East Side you can see the exhibit entitled "Let There Be Light" based on the park project to learn more.

Would you want to hang out in an underground park in New York?

Images: Delancey Underground

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Beth Carter

Contributing Editor

Beth Carter is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has worked for Catalyst magazine, the New York Times Syndicate, BBC Travel and Wired. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure