BIG APPLE CLEANSE
With temperatures rising up to 27 degrees Celsius in Amsterdam this week (at least for a day ;-) ), there’s only one thing we can think of living in a city built on water. Take a guess?! Diving into one of the city’s many canals of course. Yes, jumping in after a day of hard work sounds refreshing, yet most of the time this isn’t happening because the water is perceived as unsafe and filthy.
We recently came across an idea of a group of Millennials based in NYC, who started a multiannual project to solve this exact same problem. It started as a simple idea: instead of trying to clean the entire river, why not start by creating a safe swimming zone within the river first. And what if you could change how New Yorkers perceive their rivers, by giving them the chance to swim in it?
With this thought in mind, they teamed up with four designers to develop the ‘+ POOL’, a floating plus-shaped pool in the inner harbor of the NYC waterfront. Its walls are designed to filter the very river it floats in, cleaning more than 600,000 gallons of water every single day. No chemicals, no additives, just natural river water.
No one asked them to do this and they didn’t receive any governmental help in the beginning, but they were determined to clean and eventually swim in the Hudson river. To let their plan come to fruition, they launched a crowdfunding campaign to big success all the way back in 2011. They were then able to test filtration materials and build a mini-version of the pool. Since then various big brands like Heineken and MTV have taken notice of the project and made some big donations to help develop the full-size pool which should open in 2018.
This idea of the + POOL is an example on how you can rethink the relationship between the natural and artificial environments. The project offers the community a unique artistic lens through which they can view their urban environment. The pioneers in this subject are who we call ‘urban nomads’: people who have managed to use their city as a third space. Third spaces are social surroundings outside of your first space (home) and second space (work), think cafes, parks or a pool within a city river.
Would you like to have a + POOL in your city, or do you have another idea on how to create a third space in your city? We sure would here in Amsterdam! Maybe even 3 so it matches with our city symbol.