Public Fountains Hacked into Colorful Pools in Guimarães, Portugal : TreeHugger

A new way to use old stuff. From

This post from Paula Alvarado is from last month, but meshes with some things I’ve been discussing recently. She mentions how fountains used to be sources of drinking and bathing water for cities, but with the advent of indoor plumbing, they have mostly become ornamental. Portuguese Like Architects and designer Ricardo Douradosought to change that in the city of Guimarães by turning fountains into pools, cafe seating, and other recreational spaces.

This looks like fun. From

None of these interventions are permanent, and they were able to be erected quickly with cheap, easily available components, which means it meshes with the idea of Lighter Quicker Cheaper. It also shows people taking over their underutilized fountains, something that Patrick McDonnell recentlydid at the Dallas City Hall Fountain. This happens a lot in Philadelphia, where kids are always playing in the large fountains at Love Park and Logan Circle and even the smaller ones throughout the city. The only kid-free fountains are the ones that are actually fenced off, like at Franklin Square.

Kids playing in the fountain at Logan Circle. From

Fountains aren’t just for looking at. They are great recreational opportunities for a city, and this project in Portugal did a great job of highlighting that for other cities.


Meet the City Hall worker who went “guerrilla tubing” in the City Hall fountain |

Sarah Blaskovich wrote this post about the intern who dared to go swimming in a big pool that isn’t meant for swimming. Patrick McDonnell is a city planning intern at the city of Dallas. Dallas City Hall has a 180-foot diameter pool in front of it that people aren’t supposed to be swimming in. In a city that gets as hot as Dallas does in summer, and in a plaza that is totally dead most of the time, it doesn’t make sense to not use this place as a pool. McDonnell was told that homeless people pee in it, and Blaskovich was told that it wasn’t designed for human contact and that, when it was used as a pool in 1984, “The damage exceeded the public benefit.” You know what? How hard is it to chlorinate a pool? How hard is it to maybe post some rules or signs saying “Don’t touch our big sculptures in the middle of our pool”? Dallas City Hall has a reputation as an undemocratic building, and not allowing people to enjoy a watering hole in the Texas summer doesn’t do anything to address that reputation.

TEDxOU – Jason Roberts – How To Build a Better Block – YouTube

Jason Roberts is the kind of guy that doesn’t look for reasons not to do something cool. In this talk he goes through a number of projects where he basically took no mind of permits or requirements or financing and just did quick, temporary projects that people really liked and, in some cases, were eventually made permanent. Watch the video for advice on refurbishing an old theater, bringing back an old streetcar line, making a city more bicycle friendly, and creating better blocks and plazas, and visit Jason’s website for even more information and advice.

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