The story behind +POOL, a plan for New York City’s first floating filtering pool, is already of those great urban stories of regular folks with big ideas and perseverance in droves. Beginning with a “really simple idea,” says architect Dong-Ping Wong, the originator of the idea, +POOL already has the distinction of being one of the largest Kickstarter civic projects in the world. The team, led by Family New York and PlayLab, have used Kickstarter for two initial campaigns. The second campaign, which sold future tiles of the pool, raised almost $275,000.
This year, +POOL became one of the initiatives in the Heineken Cities Project, the beer producer’s platform to give back to cities through innovative civic projects. Last week, a film produced by Tribeca Studios (the team behind the Tribeca Film Festival) was released at a film premiere party on Pier 15 at South Street Seaport, at a waterfront party that Untapped Cities attended. You can view the entire 8.5 minute video above.
When the project becomes a reality, the cross shaped pool will be able to fit about 2800 people and clean more than 600,000 gallons of river water per day. Through interviews, renderings and animation, the video documents the idea, the history of the concept which goes back to the floating pools that once dotted New York City’s rivers, and the process thus far.
The team members describe meetings which generally begin with dubious attendees and end with curiosity and engagement. To get the project off the ground, the team took over a thousand meetings and had a long list of experts across a wide range of fields serving on the board. A key phone call came from Josh David, co-founder of the High Line – who was supportive but warned the team it would take a long time.
The video also goes over the live testing that was done, the setbacks, and the pressure from the high profile nature the project had. But this high profile nature is exactly what a project like this needs. As Heinken’s Senior Director of Marketing, Quinn Kilbury says, “Heinken’s primary purpose is to drive awareness. We want people to demand that they get +POOL…The more you talk about it, the more you get it out into the public conversation, the less crazy it sounds.”
The goal of this campaign is to get 100,000 signatures that support the project to give to the city and continue the fundraising effort. Get involved at swimintheriver.com.
Next, check out 10 of NYC’s most unique pools.