1-reclaimed waterways-projects-nyc-untapped cities-wesley yiinAn artist’s rendering of the proposed Brooklyn Bridge Beach.

There’s literally “something in the water” these days, with so many recent projects aiming to reclaim New York City’s waterways for the community. Here are five projects in various stages of development that aim to bring residents back to the waterfront after a half-century retreat:

Brooklyn Bridge Beach

On August 1, City Council speaker (and mayoral election frontrunner) Christine Quinn and Manhattan borough president announced their support of this effort, which would transform 11,000 square feet of currently unused land along the East River into a sandy beach. They’ve set aside $7 million for the project, which will take three years to complete. The new beach include a kayak launch but unfortunately still prohibits swimming in the polluted water. That brings us to our next project…

+ POOL for the East River

Perfectly complementing the Brooklyn Bridge Beach, +POOL will create a floating pool in the East River. Engineers at ARUP, designers at IDEO, and various consultants are perfecting a system that would allow the pool to filter East River water so that it’s safe for swimming. After two successful Kickstarter campaigns, the project’s masterminds hope to open the pool in the summer of 2016.

Source: +POOL Kickstarter

The Exorcise Pool in Newtown Creek

Yet another futuristic pool idea comes from Parsons architecture student Rahul Shah. He hopes to build a pool in polluted Newtown Creek. The project would use various plants, UV light, and other techniques (“a showcase of different methods of water treatment,” says Shah) to bring wastewater to a pond-like level of cleanliness. Visitors would first walk on a patio, being sprayed by this water as mist, before diving into the pool, also filled with this water. The project is only just a thesis right now, but it has the potential to take off!

Architecture M.Arch

Architecture M.ArchProject by Rahul Shah. Source: Co.Exist

The Pilot Sponge Park at the Gowanus Canal

The infamously polluted Gowanus Canal, thus far available for canoeing and kayaking, is about to transform into a larger, city-backed movement. Architecture studio dlandstudio is leading a project to turn a portion of Brooklyn’s infamously polluted Gowanus Canal into a park filled with green infrastructure. Like Shah’s Exorcise Pool, the idea is to use absorptive plants to remove toxins from storm runoff. The project was once intended to be larger, covering the entire canal. Still, the current scope (which covers only where the canal meets 2nd Street) costs just $1.5 million, but is projected to save the city $2.4 billion. Public spaces including a viewing area and seating will be available once the park opens in summer 2015.

Visitors will be able to stroll along pedestrian walkways. Source: dlandstudio

Get in touch with the author @YiinYangYale.