Solar Technology Will Shed Light on First Ever Underground Park

February 24, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. break new ground /breɪk nu, nyu graʊnd/ (idiom) – to invent something that is new and beneficial
Example: The medical engineers broke new ground when they built the first electric wheelchair.

2. lush /lʌʃ/ (adj.) – plenty, rich, or healthy
Example: There are lush vegetable farms in the countryside.

3. revive /rɪˈvaɪv/ (v.) – to improve the condition of something by making it into something new
Example: The old school building was revived into a movie theater.

4. dish /dɪʃ/ (n.) – a technological structure with a bowl-shape surface that is used to receive and collect energy
Example: The solar dishes on their roof collect solar energy.

5. elevated /ˈɛl əˌveɪ tɪd/ (adj.) – built on a level above the ground
Example: The man stood on an elevated platform to get the attention of the crowd.


Read the text below.
New York demonstrates innovations of solar technology by building the world’s first sunlit underground park. 

What was once an old train station in Manhattan will soon become a recreational park. Known as the “Lowline,” the park is an infrastructure project that breaks new ground, both environmentally and technology-wise. It aims to revive one of the least eco-friendly areas in New York into a public space for the community. Furthermore, the park will be home to lush gardens, which will be grown and nurtured by natural sunlight. This will be made possible by the park’s state-of-the-art solar power system.

A solar technology called “Remote Skylights” will serve as the park’s main light source. The Remote Skylights are a system of reflective dishes that function together in order to transfer sunlight from aboveground to underground.

The system consists of two kinds of reflective dishes: reflectors and collectors. The reflectors, which will be placed above the park, redirect sunlight to the collectors. The collectors then gather particular wavelengths of sunlight essential for plant growth. Through fiber-optic cables, these wavelengths are transmitted to another series of dishes, which will be situated on the park’s ceiling.

Developers of the Lowline were inspired to create an underground park after the success of the High Line, a public park that was built on an elevated railroad that was no longer in use. Both High Line and Lowline are part of a community effort to restore New York’s old infrastructures into useful and eco-friendly social spaces.   

The construction of the Lowline will begin in 2017 and the expected opening will be in 2018.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you want to have a Lowline park built in your city? Why or why not?
·         Aside from public parks, what other infrastructures do you think Remote Skylights can be useful in? How?

Discussion B

·         If you were to design an eco-friendly park, where would it be and what would it look like?
·         What old infrastructures in your country can be revived into an eco-friendly area? 

February 24, 2015