Everyone Into The Pool!

Westporters love their privacy. 

And their pools.

But here, counterintuitively — and from the very exclusive Burritts Landing neighborhood on Long Island Sound, off Saugatuck Avenue — comes this story from Bruce Kasanoff. It originally appeared on the “What Inspires Me” section of LinkedIn:

My neighborhood is a bit odd, in that a few dozen houses share one swimming pool. This is because 50 years ago, one large property was subdivided and the developer left the existing pool intact. He specified that all houses would jointly share in its usage and upkeep.

The 100-year-old pool has two-foot thick walls and is larger than a typical residential pool. It is great for swimming laps. (I say this theoretically, as someone who doesn’t actually swim laps.)

Very few people aspire to share a pool with a few dozen neighbors. Instead, people want their own pool.

After 15 years of sharing, I can tell you that sharing is much, much better. You pay less for upkeep, yet enjoy a bigger pool. But that’s not even close to the best benefit.

Bruce Kasanoff wasn't kidding. That's one giant swimming pool!

Bruce Kasanoff wasn’t kidding. That’s one giant swimming pool! (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Thanks to the pool, we have an extremely social and friendly neighborhood. Instead of hanging out in our own yards, we hang out together at the pool. We meet each others’ friends and relatives. We share food and sometimes have communal dinners.

Here’s where it gets really interesting, at least to me. Sharing the pool created a culture of sharing in our neighborhood. When my kids were younger, our neighbors approached us with a proposal. Our swing set was getting pretty shaky, and our kids had mostly outgrown it. So our neighbors offered to buy a much nicer new one that we would share, but — because they didn’t have a flat spot in their yard — they asked to put it in ours. We agreed.

Then another neighbor bought a trampoline, that everyone shares. Another bought a soccer net. Same deal. Today, the swing set is long gone but we share a garden with our neighbors.

I’d like to think that this is where we are headed as a society: sharing more.

Increasingly, technology makes this easier. For example, The People Who Share website lists over 8,000 companies and organizations that facilitate sharing. Share a car, house, meal, artistic event, or even a dog.

You don’t need a venture capitalist and a programming team to start sharing. You just need to adopt a sharing mindset. Once you do, don’t be surprised if you discover that sharing is contagious.

(Hat tip: Maxine Bleiweis)

One response to “Everyone Into The Pool!

  1. Beth Berkowitz

    That sounds wonderful and could definitely become contagious. However, if you don’t get along with your neighbor’s or you get along, but don’t care for eachother that could be very awkward. I have lived on streets where the neighbor’s were wonderful and we all seemed to get along well and I have lived on some streets where no one got along well. It just depends on the make up of the neighborhood. It’s very difficult when a group has to share the costs and maintenance when not everyone gets along well. I have seen where one or two homeowners just refuse to pay their fair share, such as in road maintenance and snow removal fees. This is on roads that don’t have a formal association and roads that do have a formal association too. When it is part of the deed for each property requiring each property pay a certain amount and where it is just a “gentle men’s agreement”. Not everyone is on the same page when it comes to spending money nor does everyone have an unlimited ability to pay the same amount or want to pay, especially if they think they can be stubborn and not pay their share or not pay their full amount and it will still be done anyway, but the other neighbor’s. I’m happy to hear that in his neighborhood it works so well.