The ability of Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites to turn crazy design concepts into real-world products has been well documented, but a post at PSFK suggest these site's ability to support speculative building projects is also commendable. The article touches on three campaigns; the +Pool in New York, a fully-funded plan to place a floating and filtering pool in the East River; the Thames Bath Lido, a now-active proposal to launch a public pool in the Thames River in London; and the PopUP Forest, set to be installed in Times Square next summer. They all sound like great ideas, but does the promise of crowdfunded public works live up to the reality?
While there are many examples of projects that have been fully funded, from this surf park in Chicago to New York's famed LowLine subterranean park concept to a floating resort on Lake Michigan (what's with all the floating parks?), the next part of the process is a little harder and often requires a much longer campaign involving public outreach and planning commissions. It can often be more challenging to secure zoning and governmental approval than figure out the manufacturing process for a consumer product (for instance, the Chicago Surf Park was delayed because the local park district determined another location was more suitable and has been pushed back to next summer). While the ability of these sites to help raise important issues, popularize ideas and turn a concept into campaigns is commendable, it often takes a few more steps.