Bike close to nature

When architects, landscape architects and lighting designers truly work together, magical things happen. One example is a bicycle path in Singapore that reacts to its users.

Singapore is one of the major cities when it comes to technology and efficiency. But just as in any other metropolis the transport systems are very complex, they can barely cope with millions of inhabitants. The solution? Bicycles!

A while ago, the Urban Redevelopment Authority in Singapore announced an international competition: A master plan for 24 kilometres of bicycle highways. This “Rail Corridor” will lead through the city, north to south, and connect residential areas, workplaces, schools and public spaces.

Nipek, a lighting design office based in Singapore, MVRDV and Architects 61 proposed to connect nature and city. They designed a dynamic lighting concept that fits the needs of bikers while respecting nature.

Artificial light is a serious problem, especially for wildlife, because it changes the organism’s biorhythm. In fact, light pollution is one of the main issues of the modern world. Nonetheless, people do need light for orientation and safety reasons – a bicycle highway can not work without it.

The concept uses a smart lighting technology that only illuminates the lane when it senses activity. The lights then successively illuminate as bikers travel down the path. Otherwise, only phosphorescent reflectors on the Rail Corridor give a hint of where the trail leads.

Special lamp posts make this solution possible. They are able to communicate with each other and switch on when a biker reaches their activation radius.

Even though the proposal didn’t succeed, the project demonstrates, what better teamwork can do for public spaces. There is much more to a nature-friendly concept than just the right choice of plants.

Read more about glowing bicycle lanes here.