What's the Latest Development?
Several Web sites throughout the world are taking advantage of the Kickstarter crowdfunding model to help citizens support public projects in their neighborhoods. Among these is London-based Spacehive, which offers a list of projects to which people can donate money. Once a project's total amount is collected, it is then given to the appropriate organization(s). Through Spacehive, investors have helped to fund a community center after seven years of bureaucratic delay. Similar sites include Finland's Brickstarter and US-based Citizinvestor.
What's the Big Idea?
Citizinvestor founder Jordan Raynor says the recession has created a need for these sites: "[A]t a time when government budgets are tighter than ever before, governments are just not performing a lot of the city services they have historically performed." People have demonstrated that they are willing to contribute funds where needed, and the sites make the process easier. To those who worry that the crowdfunding model favors richer neighborhoods, Raynor says that Citizinvestor only lists existing city projects, and when people in wealthier areas contribute to their neighborhood spaces, city funds are freed up to help complete projects in poorer areas.
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