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The Subway Light Project
Sarah Rich, 17 Jul 07
Article Photo

Living in Seattle, we are all too familiar with the impacts of inadequate sunlight on health and mood (and at the this time of year the utter elation that the sun's long-awaited arrival can cause city-wide). As a remedy for the doldrums of sunlightlessness -- whether because of the season or because we have to work or live in unlit buildings -- doctors often recommend full-spectrum lightbulbs that mimic the sun. It does work, but with recent innovations in fiberoptic and solar technology, options exist to do even better than install a sun-like bulb. It's now possible to channel actual natural light into dark places and cast it through a fixture.

There have been a variety of design prototypes and lighting systems experimenting with this technology, but the Subway Light Project is the first we've seen that incorporates sunlight transfer in public art, to save the city money on energy, and infuse public space with a good mood boost. Parsons student Caroline Pham, who designed the Subway Light Project, won first place in the school's 2007 Sustainable Design Review. Her concept uses fiber optics and photovoltaics to collect and channel sunlight into the enclosed corridors of the subway.

Caroline's winning conceptual submission is a public art piece that encourages biophilia and, in effect, promotes energy-saving technology while providing sunlight to sun-deprived underground subways...The technology would be used to illuminate windows and sitting areas, which are graphically designed to illustrate elements of natural and urban landscape integration.

The jury selected several other interesting projects that employ tools for urban sustainability from rainwater harvesting to mobile greenmarket carts to biodiversity mapping. Downloadable PDF booklet here.

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Comments

"Her concept uses fiber optics and photovoltaics", doesn't sound logical to me for real sunlight. I checked the booklet and indeed she uses solar collecting panels, but not photovoltaics. Otherwise, thanks a lot for the link!


Posted by: Ewout on 19 Jul 07

Like most interesting and new ideas, this would work in a limited fashion - the Beacon Hill tunnel stop for Seattle's new rail system is 150-ish feet underground. The downtown tunnel might be usable for this, but it might end up being more space-efficient to install better lighting instead.


Posted by: Ben Schiendelman on 19 Jul 07

I found this article intriguing. I live presently in the city of Bangkok, Thailand, and here they have quite an underground metro subway train system. Perhaps you could "channel" this information to the appropriate people on both sides to consider using this technology on the subway over here in Bangkok, and perhaps in other parts of the world.
The future is wide open. Here's a link for you: http://www.santmat.net
Sincerly,
Will Hill.


Posted by: Will on 22 Jul 07

I found this article intriguing. I live presently in the city of Bangkok, Thailand, and here they have quite an underground metro subway train system. Perhaps you could "channel" this information to the appropriate people on both sides to consider using this technology on the subway over here in Bangkok, and perhaps in other parts of the world.
The future is wide open. Here's a link for you: http://www.santmat.net
Sincerly,
Will Hill.


Posted by: Will on 22 Jul 07

I found this article intriguing. I live presently in the city of Bangkok, Thailand, and here they have quite an underground metro subway train system. Perhaps you could "channel" this information to the appropriate people on both sides to consider using this technology on the subway over here in Bangkok, and perhaps in other parts of the world.
The future is wide open. Here's a link for you: http://www.santmat.net
Sincerly,
Will Hill.


Posted by: Will on 22 Jul 07

Don't believe in "full spectrum" -- doctors do recommend bright light, specifically not "full spectrum" --- the more extreme blue and the ultraviolet are both known risks that don't help with winter blues.

Any fluorescent light emits plenty of the actual effective (blue-green) band -- identified in 2001 -- that will perk you up (by suppressing melatonin).

http://sleep-medicine.advanceweb.com/common/Editorial/Editorial.aspx?CC=66177


Posted by: Hank Roberts on 23 Jul 07

Nice idea.

One myth mentioned in passing worth debunking --- "full spectrum" -- doctors do recommend bright light, specifically not "full spectrum" --- the more extreme blue and the ultraviolet are both known risks that don't help with winter blues.

I'd expect those are also filtered out of anything using glass or plastic light guides to bring light into the subway.

Any fluorescent light emits plenty of the actual effective (blue-green) band -- identified in 2001 -- that will perk you up (by suppressing melatonin).

http://sleep-medicine.advanceweb.com/common/Editorial/Editorial.aspx?CC=66177


Posted by: Hank Roberts on 23 Jul 07

Dang --- the system claims that posts aren't being posted and says 'wait and try again' --- from the Bangkok post and mine, I think the software's misinforming people and actually posting what it says it isn't. Editor?


Posted by: Hank Roberts on 23 Jul 07



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