Pimp Your Dumpster

Courtesy of Yana Paskova from The New York Times

Courtesy of Yana Paskova from The New York Times

The New York Times covered a story about secret pool parties going down in abandoned dumpsters in industrial Gowanas Brooklyn. New York City real estate developers got the idea from Curtis Crowe, the drummer for the Georgian band Pylan who is credited with making the first dumpster pool. The location is secret because it is believed that people that aren’t cool enough would show up and ruin it for everyone (see video in Times article to view cool in action). “The pools are supposed to be open through August or until the coolness wears off.”

This instance of creativity is great, but in terms of sustainability, it’s in the wrong vein. A major pillar of sustainability is equal access to all resources of a place. Obviously this is idealistic, but development initiatives that include exclusivity as a feature in the design are at odds with sustainability principles. Sustainable design, at a minimum, encourages an approach towards the ideal of equity. In this case, the idea “was not to create an exclusive party destination but to experiment with underused space and materials, repurposing them with urban renewal in mind”, which is spot-on with the creative approach that will drive revitalization of much of New York City. Instances like this show that the creative will to bring life to abandoned resources is well and alive among city residents. The next step is to institutionalize this will to advance New York City to a more sustainable state.

New York City residents should continue to pimp they dumpsters, but sustainability demands that they pimp them in a proper manner. A major urban challenge is to develop smart design that alleviates all intentional and unintentional design features that prevent equal access to quality public resources. As the creative will to bring life to places with recreational potential increasingly becomes the public will, such smart designs will be realized.

Read the full Times article here

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