Dan Barasch’s grandmother grew up in New York’s Lower East Side. Now, he’s building an underground park in her old neighborhood, where greenspace is limited.

Why you should listen

Dan Barasch is the co-founder and executive director of the Lowline, an underground park that is being developed underneath the streets of New York City—in the Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal. In use from 1908 to 1948, this terminal is now abandoned. The Lowline will be a one-acre park in a neighborhood where greenspace is hard to come by. The project uses innovative solar technology to capture light above ground and distribute it below, making it a space that can be used in all four seasons. Once a wild idea, the project got a big boost on Kickstarter, raising more than $155,000 for its development in 2012. The project promises to be the inverse of New York's High Line.

Barasch has long known that he wanted to make a difference, but for years, wasn't quite sure how to go about doing that. Before he left his job to work fultime on the Lowline, he led strategic partnerships at PopTech; held multiple roles at Google; and worked in small business development in New York City government. He also consulted for UNICEF in Nairobi and with the 9/11 Survivors’ Fund in Washington DC. He began his career at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco, co-producing the weekly NPR show “It’s Your World.”

Dan Barasch’s TED talk

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