Global Warming-Ready Waterpod Returns to Land

waterpod new york at sea photo

A floating experiment in sustainable living. Photo of the Waterpod by project founder Mary Mattingly.

If you were near any of New York City's waterways last summer and early fall, you might have seen a strange, geodesic-dome-topped barge plying its way through the urban landscape. This "futuristic habitat," dubbed the Waterpod and meant to serve as an experiment in sustainable living in a time of rising sea levels, has returned to land. Its journey is on view this week for those curious about what a "self-sufficient, navigable living space" might look like.Raising Chickens on the River
"Waterpod: Autonomy and Ecology," at the Exit Underground art space through Feb. 6, includes photographs, videos, art works, and other documentation of this unusual vessel's five-month voyage around New York, during which the team of artists and other people living on board raised chickens, led composting and vermiculture workshops, and operated bicycle-powered pumps to run a rainwater capture-and-purification system.

waterpod cugreen gardening demonstration photo

An on-board gardening demonstration by Bob Hyland of the Center for Urban Greenscaping (CuGreen). Photograph by curator and resident artist Ian Daniel.

Created by a team of New York-based artists, designers, builders, civic activists, scientists, environmentalists, and marine engineers, the Waterpod was conceived as a way to experiment with more sustainable living systems that might be suitable for a future world of "widespread climate change, desertification, overpopulation, and rising sea levels."

Gardening, Greywater Recycling, and Yoga Too
Built of repurposed wood, metal, plastic, fabric, and other materials on top of an industrial barge, the Waterpod included space for both hydroponic and soil-based gardens -- growing such goodies as bok choy, strawberries, and squash -- a composting toilet, greywater recycling, and 12 solar PV panels, among other green features. The voyagers were also equipped with a shower, art and yoga spaces, a fuel-efficient stove, and kayaks for exploring. Not a bad way to ride out a worst-case scenario.

More about eco-minded boat trips:
Students Build Hydrogen Fueled Ship to Cruise the Hudson
Sailing For Cause: Marine 'Odd-Ventures'
David de Rothschild Sets Sail on Plastic Ship
Wave-Powered Boat Sails from Hawaii to Japan, Slowly
Sailing the Mississippi in a Juice Container
Solar-Power Boat Supplemented With Pedal-Power
Solar Boat Arrives in NYC
Ship Ahoy! Aboard the S.S. Solar Shuttle

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