A London architecture firm has put forward a plan that would see post sent through the city via the Tube and greenery planted at street level. The ambitious proposal has made it to the final round of the Royal Academy of Arts’ Urban Jigsaw competition.
What an idea: send post via the Tube, have drones pick it up and forward it to its destination and build a green ‘superhighway’ at ground level that would serve as London’s green lungs. To top it off, the Tube line would be powered by incinerating waste.
Let’s put this in historical context. From 1927 to 2003, the Post Office Railway operated in London’s underground rail network. Over a distance of nearly 10km, between Paddington and Whitechapel, mail and parcels were shipped through the city on driverless trains. Architecture firm Chetwoods are looking to bring this route back to life to not only deliver post fast and reduce traffic in the city but also to improve London’s air quality.
According to Chetwoods estimates, 30 per cent of London’s air pollution derives from delivery vehicles, which have quadrupled in number in the last decade.
Post Below, Trees On Top
Reviving the old postal line could see 16,000 parcels per hour being sent around the city in about 20 minutes from one of the line to other. The plan would reduce delivery vehicle traffic by up to 75 per cent. According to Chetwoods’ plan, the trains carrying the packages will be powered by electricity generated from rubbish incineration. The incineration would be carried at each end of the line with energy directed straight into the system.
© Chetwoods Chetwoods vision for Oxford Street
Above ground, the plan would be to transform the street level surface of the ‘Well Line’ into one long green stretch of land, complete with bodies of water, that Londoners can use as a retreat smack bang in the city. Alongside this, the firm would look to use smog-reduction technologies that can clean 30,000 cubic metres of air per hour. These technologies have already been successfully in implemented in Beijing.
This is truly a complex urban design that Chetwoods has presented and it looks like the Royal Academy of Arts agree, selecting the plan among the four winners of the Urban Jigsaw competition. Whether it can actually be put into action remains to be seen - we’re crossing our fingers!
Translated from this article by Silvana that was originally published on our German platform.