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Published on January 22nd, 2009 | by Ariel Schwartz


Architect Proposes Human-Powered River Gym in NYC

January 22nd, 2009 by  

Just looking at this mock-up of a human-powered river gym makes me seasick, but architect Mitchell Joachim and personal trainer Douglas Joachim’s design won third place in New York Magazine’s “Create a Gym Contest”. The gym’s creators explain, “Often the average urbanite exercising at the gym performs controlled repetitive single plane movements using industrial fitness equipment. All of this energy is summarily dissipated and ultimately exhausted for the sake of a single individual’s wellbeing. Other potentials exist to harness this vast human expenditure of caloric energy. Why not have the simple transfer of this workout vigor supply New York with needed supplemental transport and amenities?”

Instead of letting all that energy go to waste, the Joachims propose using it to purify water in the Hudson and East Rivers, ease transportation burdens on ferry lines, and carry volunteer commuters.

The brothers have not, however, calculated exactly how much energy exercisers in the river gym could produce. I’m guessing that it won’t be nearly enough to purify water and transport the vessel.

And then there’s the issue of customers having to wait for their gym to come to shore—something that harried Manhattanites are not likely to appreciate. 


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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

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