Words by AFP Relaxnews
A proposal to transform abandoned tunnels in London into a network of subterranean cycling paths and retail spaces is the latest urban planning scheme to recognize the potential of the world beneath our feet.
To solve the growing problem of congestion and traffic in the British capital, a design firm has re-imagined the use of the city’s underworld in a project they call The London Underline.
Gensler’s vision is to take old abandoned metro tunnels and transform the space into a self-sustainable, self-powered subterranean ecosystem that features cycling and pedestrian paths, as well as entertainment and retail spaces.
Additionally, the scheme would feature a kinetic energy system that converts footsteps from the world above into electricity for a carbon-neutral community.
“Now that London has reached the highest level of population in its history we need to think creatively about how to maximize the potential of our infrastructure,” said Ian Mulcahey, co-director of Gensler London in a statement.
“The adaptation of surplus and underutilized tube and rail tunnels could provide a quick and simple addition to our infrastructure network.”
According to Gensler, London’s population is projected to grow from 7.3 million in 2011 to 10 million in 2029 – a growth rate of about 2,880 people a week.
The proposal, meanwhile, has also won the support of the city and was named Best Conceptual Project at the London Planning Awards hosted by the London Mayor Boris Johnson.
The London Underline is the latest proposal to explore the potential of a city’s underbelly.
In New York, a team of entrepreneurs is also working on a scheme that could become the world’s first underground park, complete with grass, trees, park benches and sunlight.
Plans for The Lowline involve harnessing sunlight and redistributing it underground via a collection of strategically places solar dishes.
Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015.
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