It can be easy to forget, while navigating its urban canyons, that Manhattan is an island. And, indeed, nearly all major cities in the country sit next to large bodies of water (or were, before the idea of building a city in a desert started to seem like a good idea). But we’re often removed from that water–mentally, if not geographically–and that means we don’t care about it and pollute it. Light Reeds, a project from the design firm Pensa, is meant to change that.
The idea of Light Reeds is to make water more visceral by creating a moving, glowing reminder of it when we’re near. The reeds, which are floating on the water’s surface, glow with a color that indicates the liquid’s quality. They’re powered by a turbine to show that rivers are more than just bodies of water, they can be sources of energy, too.
The project is merely a concept right now, but any city would be lucky to have these glowing reeds swaying near its riverbanks. Better, certainly, than washed up cans and plastic bags.