A research program on alternative financial and management models
POOL IS COOL is a group of primarily architects and urbanists with the competence to design and build swimming infrastructures and to position these infrastructures in a complex urban context. But the know-how on designing and planning outdoor swimming infrastructures is not what is lacking in Brussels. Instead, two other important challenges come to the front.
In the first place, the introduction of a public amenity of the scale of an outdoor swimming infrastructure in the city is not a small venture. Negotiations with different stakeholders, collaboration with local communities, and a good understanding of the urban dynamics, political forces and administrative rules will be key to successfully implement a public open air swimming facility. In the city of Brussels, infamous for its institutional fragmentation, spatial diversity and cultural differences, this process of bringing together a multitude of stakeholders into a co-productive sustainable micro-governance structure is a complex endeavour.
In the second place, like all public infrastructure, the realisation and maintenance of swimming pools and ponds will require substantial financial resources and responsible ownership. Like many other cities, Brussels is however struggling to finance the kind of public infrastructures that POOL IS COOL envisages. Alternative models of ownership and economic structures that go beyond the conventional tools for financing and managing public infrastructures will have to be found.
Within the framework of the BWMSTR Label, awarded by the ‘Flemish Bouwmeester’, POOL IS COOL is currently conducting a research project to provide answers to these challenges.