Curator Jane Withers discusses her exhibition that presents proposals to reclaim our rivers and harbours

An exhibition at the Roca London Gallery presents a series of architectural proposals to reclaim natural water sources in London, New York and Copenhagen for recreational use. We spoke to curator Jane Withers about how we can better exploit our rivers and harbours.

: Tell me about the exhibition?

JANE WITHERS: Urban Plunge began to take shape in my mind last summer. I was already familiar with Copenhagen’s wonderful harbour baths and, when I came across Studio Octopi’s Thames Baths proposal, I realised that a ripple effect was beginning – with schemes for enabling river swimming and harbour baths cropping up in several cities.

Besides the sheer thrill of a water-level urban perspective – swimming in the heart of the city, with Wall Street as a backdrop or views downstream to Tower Bridge – these natural river baths and floating pools are interesting because they challenge the way we use and think about the future of our urban waterways. The bigger question is, why shouldn’t we reclaim these vast but under-utilised public spaces at the heart of our cities?


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