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Large scale urban intervention to counter tendency of public space becoming privatized and commodified

We want to create an inflatable community learning space inside of a dumpster that is open to all  

"Part education center, part art installation, and part a rethinking of what constitutes public space" (Fast Company).

As public space in New York becomes increasingly privatized and commodified, The Inflato Dumpster seeks to counter that tendency by serving as an open, engaging street-level structure that acts as a mobile learning laboratory. For five days this fall, the temporary, dome-like structure will confront the tendency of city space to limit public exchange by serving as a large scale urban intervention in which workshops to create and explore the possibilities for smaller, targeted urban interventions will be produced and deployed from within.

We believe that the architecture of the Inflato Dumpster can act as a networked node of neighborhood information - using screens and sensors to produce constantly updating streams of demographic and subjective information regarding the local site - and then in turn produces a smaller constellation of satellite interventions created by locals and visitors alike. We envision the site as a hub for all, to create a gathering space where programs can be curated to the needs of the community.   

Visitors can enter, visualize, learn and explore various urban techniques and strategies before leaving the structure armed with the knowledge to redesign their own total environment.

Initially, we see this space as taking the form of a hacker workshop where simple, off the shelf components can be procured and combined to provide local residents with access to technology and a means for hands-on testing of public space concerns (picture below - http://www.instructables.com/id/LED-Floaties-That-float-away/?ALLSTEPS ).

The structure’s faceted shape, materials and unexpected location will all combine to make for a fun, dynamic addition to the streetscape with the inflated structure evoking the blow-up castles of street festivals and the long history of big inflatable space from AntFarm to Spacebuster. We’ve been seeing a lot of construction dumpsters on the streets in the neighborhood, they symbolize change but also an opportunity for us to create something new.

As residents of various areas in New York City, we aim to take advantage of the mobile, temporary nature of the Inflato Dumpster to pop-up in areas that we love, neighborhoods where we live and around the people and communities that we know. We’ve identified a number of intersections and areas where the workshops and education laboratory programs would have the greatest impact, so stay tuned as we finalize the exact spot. 

The Inflato Dumpster will be built from readily available lightweight materials and combined into a structure that can be inflated and occupied. Consisting of gold and silver mylar, it will reflect the light filtering down from the trees and create a shimmering, inviting structure on the street. The logic behind the materials is as follows: up to a datum level of approximately six and a half feet, the structure will be made of clear polyethylene. This is an inexpensive, common and biodegradable plastic material that will allow views both from the street into the space, and from within back out to the street. The street side will be primarily comprised of gold and silver mylar material with small clear holes throughout to allow light to filter in, evoking the feeling of being under a shaded tree. The highest point on the dome will be approximately 28’ and the space will comprise nearly 2000 cubic feet of overall volume. The sidewalk side will be built from faceted white tyvek building wrap, used both for its lightweight capabilities and also to provide a surface for projections of film and data. The final and most important material is of course the dumpster, a 30 yard refuse container that is 23’ long by 8’ wide and will form the solid base of the intervention.

In the past, with the Dept. of Urban Betterment we’ve installed book shelves in phone booths and now we want to build something new.

To do this we need your support. Your donations will go towards renting the dumpster, materials for the inflatable which include the fan, plastic, mylar and renting a projector, as well as basic off-the-shelf electronics and LED’s to support the educational mission of the project. 

Thank you and look forward to seeing you in the inflato!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Redefining urban space is no small feat. Our main obstacle will be the production of the inflatable. Our effort will require help from our friends and family, working together for an entire weekend assembling and attaching all the sections of the clear polyethylene as well as gold and silver mylar.

We've received so much support already from people wanting to get involved, reassuring the tangibility of our project.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    3 backers

    Acknowledgment on our Department of Urban Betterment (dubnewyork.org) website + handwritten thank you postcard with sneek-peak picture of production

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    5 backers

    LED throwie kit (workshop sample) + website acknowledgment + handwritten thank you postcard

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    5 backers

    Mini inflato model + website acknowledgment + handwritten thank you postcard

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    2 backers

    Become featured partner on banner visible during event + LED throwie kit (workshop sample) + website acknowledgment + handwritten thank you postcard

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    4 backers Limited (16 left of 20)

    Access to exclusive 1st night private movie screening inside Inflato-Dumpster + LED throwie kit (workshop sample) + website acknowledgment + handwritten thank you postcard

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    2 backers Limited (18 left of 20)

    Private dinner 1st night inside Inflato-Dumpster + private movie screening (if space available) + LED throwie kit (workshop sample) + website acknowledgment + handwritten thank you postcard

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Funding period

- (30 days)