Idea: Using ‘Window Perfs’ as Massive ‘Street & Property Covers’

Here’s a crazy idea. You’ve seen them on the side of buses and building windows. ‘Window perfs’ allow ads and art put on windows to be seen by people outside yet is see-through to those who are inside. So what if we took industrial strength vinyl used for billboards, made millions of golf ball sized holes in it, printed forests and rivers on one side and printed a black backing on the other side? You’d give everyone living in high-rises a beautiful view (and everyone below a tiny bit of shade from the sun). And let me not remind you how important greenery is, the more you see it every day the healthier, happier, and less stressed out you are. We can also cover up all those ugly parking lots, power stations, and junk yards.

So here is what a normal window perf (perforated material) looks like:

It works this way because the fabric has millions of holes in it, with color printing on the white side (allowing you to see the ad/art) and a black backing on the other (making the light visually stick out, allowing you to see through it). Basically, you can apply this technique to ANY fabric and make one side visible and the other side see through. 

You could heat seal strips of perf material together to make massive street covers, parking lot covers, power station covers, junk yard covers, etc… And the best part is, everyone from above looking down will see nature, everyone below can look up and see the sky like normal, just slightly tinted.

Cities:

This is my problem with cities, a lack of greenery. Concrete and chaos everywhere. And with studies everywhere emphasizing the importance of greenery and nature on mental health as well the importance of taking the time to relax from our over stimulated lifestyles, I’ve got to say, I’d rather see this out my window every day:

The ability to escape from the chaos of the city is the whole reason why suburbs where born, and why millions of Americans drive hours each day just to get from their forested county homes to their jobs in the concrete city. So if city planners and local communities can get together and cover their busiest streets with Street Covers, imagine how much more relaxing a busy city can feel.

Also, if you use very heavy vinyl material street sounds would be dampened by a noticeable amount, I think. And if you use light colored nature graphics (like beaches) you can reduce the heat island effect by bouncing the sun’s rays off the street covers instead of letting those rays heat up the asphalt.

Power Stations:

Add frames.

Then support cables.

And finally anchor the perforated fabric with grommets and metal ties. The fabric can be printed out in strips then melted together to form any custom size needed.

This same method can be used to cover parking lots and streets.

Parking Lots:

I’m sure everyone who parks their car there daily would appreciate a cooler and more shaded lot.

Streets & Intersections:

Details:

  • With golf ball sized holes, rain and air can easily go through the fabric so pollution build-up, precipitation, and strong winds won’t be a problem.
  • The fabric itself will be industrial strength vinyl (the same used for outdoor billboards) or even re-enforced vinyl (since it will have holes in) so it can last for years and years out in the elements.
  • Cable wire (my favorite) anchored into surrounding buildings will be used to stretch the fabric out and keep it pulled tight. (just like trolly power lines)
  • Also, in the rare event that someone falls from their balcony in a drunken stupor, they will probably live thanks to the street cover breaking their fall and acting like a fireman’s trampoline.

Possible Disadvantages:

  • What does worry me is trash (newspapers), leaves, branches, and snow accumulation. Especially snow, if there’s enough accumulated it could cause the property cover to significantly sag or even snap the cables so the holes would have to be made big enough so accumulated snow can fall through.
  • Freezing rain might form deadly icicles? Doesn’t it already do that on cloths and power lines though?
  • People above can’t see crime below.
  • Some streets that are already dark will be further darkened by the material.

Credits:
– The picture of the outside and inside view (©) is from inkdots.com.
– Green mountain photo (©) used in the power station mockup is from Arman_Zhenikeyev.
– The green forest (©) used in the asian metropolis mockup is from Films4Conservation.
– The asian metropolis (©) itself is from Xuan Xu.
– The green forest with river (CC) used in the parking lot mockup is from CIFOR
– Satalite images (©) and street view (©) belong to Google. 
All copyrighted images used under “fair use” and for informational, non-commercial purposes. 

65 Comments

  1. Cowboy Coder says:

    This is interesting but kind of ridiculous.

    Here’s a better solution that accomplishes the good parts, even better, and none of the negatives.

    In Guadalajara, the major boulevards are underground, with up ramps to the surface streets every few blocks. This leaves the surface for low traffic streets and parks on nearly every corner in the city. So you have real trees to look at, and almost no traffic noise.

    • Well, ridiculous in a way yes. But it’s much cheaper than underground boulevards which cost tens of millions of dollars per mile.

      Ultimately you’re right, real trees are better than fake trees, but economically, fake trees are better than no trees.

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