This Dutch Inventor Is Transforming Our Roads

His innovations will improve infrastructure with paint, stones, solar power, and reflective lines.

Daan Roosegaarde—urban architect, innovator, and night diver—finds bioluminescent plankton inspiring. “They don’t have a battery, they don’t have an energy bill, they don’t have a maintenance contract,” he says. “What can we learn from them?”

That question drives Roosegaarde’s life’s work: drawing on nature to make cities more efficient and more beautiful without damaging our planet.

To emulate plankton that emit light, Roosegaarde and his colleagues embedded solar-powered stones in the bike path seen here. The path is in Nuenen in the Netherlands—onetime home of Vincent van Gogh—so the glowing stones were arranged to resemble the artist’s masterwork “The Starry Night.”

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