by Chris Michael and Elena Goodinson
From pedestrian bridges to city centre waterslides, sculpture parks to public pianos, here are some of the smartest and wackiest crowdfunded projects for urban improvement
The Luchtsingel complex in Rotterdam includes a rooftop vegetable garden and park connected to the centre of the city by a 390m wooden pedestrian bridge, which is scheduled to be finished by the end of this year. Crowdfunders can fund a section of the bridge, even just a plank, in exchange for being able to customise it with their name or message to the city. Photograph: Ossip van Duivenbode
When the Churchill Way flyover in Dale Street, Liverpool, was targeted for demolition, a group came together to use crowdfunding to pay for a better solution … Photograph: Alamy
… and this is an artist’s impression of what they proposed: a multiuse space that would regenerate the rundown area around the flyover, as well as saving the cost of demolition. The money has been successfully raised through crowdfunding, and all eyes are on what happens next. Photograph: Friends of the Flyover.
In Bristol, artist Luke Jerram proposed a giant temporary public waterslide for city centre. Called the Park and Slide, it has raised funds through the civic crowdfunding website Spacehive.
Jerram is perhaps best known for his project to put free pianos into public spaces, such as St Pancras train station in London and Times Square in New York, shown here. Play Me I’m Yours has featured in various other European cities; Jerram’s next stop is to encourage a crowdfunded effort in Kiev.
Memphis Bioworks is in the process of using the crowdfunding website IOBY (In Our Back Yard) to raise money for Memphis Civic Solar, a project that aims to install 1.5 megawatts of solar energy capability across 30 different municipal buildings across the city. Photograph: Brandon Dill
The O2 arena in London, formerly known as the Millennium Dome, cost taxpayers an eye-watering amount when it was first built to mark the year 2000. A new proposal for a crowdfunded sculpture walk could transform this neighbourhood that never quite met its lofty ambitions. Photograph: Martin Godwin
The proposed Greenwich sculpture walk, called The Line.
Not all civic projects have to be grand in scope. Smashing its goal of £366 by one whole pound, the Queen’s Jubillegal Head project created this beautiful effigy of HRH which sailed down Regent’s Canal in east London to mark the diamond jubilee in 2012. Photograph: Jenny Matthews/In Pictures
A more serious effort to use crowdfunding to buttress sagging municipal budgets: Glyncoch Community Centre in Wales. It raised £792,433 for a multi-purpose community centre to host activities from bingo to Taekwondo to an IT centre, in the hopes that the jobs and learning opportunities “will help reverse the cycle of deprivation in the area and bring about a real physical and community renaissance”.
Davis Islands pool in Tampa, Florida, is a 1920s swimming pool which was redeveloped using a combination of municipal and community cash, raised through crowdfunding. Photograph: fleischmangarcia.com
The Long Bench is just what it says on the tin: a long bench on the seafront promenade in Littlehampton, West Sussex. It claims to be the biggest bench in Britain, and each slat is marked with a name or message from one of its thousands of crowdfunders. Photograph: Alamy
The 123rd Street Garden in Harlem, New York, was destroyed by a building collapse in 2012. Now the community has banded together to raise funds to rebuild it, using the crowdfunding site IOBY. Photograph: New York City/Alamy
This article first appeared on The Guardian website.