A floating swimming pool off the shore of New York is the kind of idea that would usually sink without trace, so to speak, at a time like this. But it’s just one of the weird and wonderful projects set to go ahead thanks to thousands of dollars pledged by internet users around the world. This is crowdfunding, where those with a much-cherished idea but no money seek many small donations online. Websites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and ArtistShare are now a major source of arts funding – Kickstarter alone will distribute more than the US’ National Endowment for the Arts this year. Now an online platform that helps artists find a wider audience is being adopted for the very real world of public space, to pay for projects including a community centre in Wales, an underground park (NY again), a footbridge in the centre of Rotterdam and a rooftop aquaponic farm in King’s Cross. In this piece for Modus magazine, I asked how well the model translates – and whether crowdfunding could ever replace government funding for community projects.