Over the next two weeks, Next City will unroll short profiles of 77 people, places and ideas that have changed cities this year. Together, they make up our 2012 Disruption Index. Forefront subscribers can download the Index in full as a PDF, complete with beautiful designs and graphics by Danni Sinisi. Readers who make a $75 donation to Next City will have a full-color printed copy of the Index mailed to them.
The website Kickstarter has revolutionized the way people fundraise. By tapping into the large audience of the Internet and trying to convince people of a project’s worth, creators of all stripes have been able to build up the funding they need to actually build or develop projects as varied as films, watches, video games and household appliances. Building on Kickstarter’s success, two crowd-funding websites have developed to connect funders with civic-focused projects.
ioby is one U.S.-based website that allows community members to post ideas for small-scale neighborhood improvement projects and raise money to complete them. With an environmental focus, ioby has helped neighborhood groups fund efforts to build community gardens or rain barrels and set up bicycle repair stations. But it’s not just about raising money — ioby also tries to recruit volunteers interested in helping to actually build these projects. The UK-based Spacehive, another crowdfunding site for civic projects, tends to include much larger ambitions, like building entirely new parks or redesigning community centers. These two sites show that crowdfunding can be a useful tool for both generating financial support for projects and prompting the community to see them through.
Nate Berg is a writer and journalist covering cities, architecture and urban planning. Nate’s work has been published in a wide variety of publications, including the New York Times, NPR, Wired, Metropolis, Fast Company, Dwell, Architect, the Christian Science Monitor, LA Weekly and many others. He is a former staff writer at The Atlantic Cities and was previously an assistant editor at Planetizen.