“Crowd-Sourcing can’t build a bridge” Or can it?
Atlantic Cities (a great resource for those involved in urban revitalization) has recently explored the rebuilding of Cities across the United States. In the latest piece, author David Lepeska looks at how local community activists and Mayors are using innovative techniques to tackle large-scale problems. Ester Fuchs, director of Columbia University’s Urban and Social Policy program, has noticed the same trend saying that, “Cities that are experiencing turnaround have mayors and city councils that have essentially pushed the envelop and grabbed the authority to deal with their problems.”
Nik Theodore, director of the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois-Chicago, adds, “Communities are finding a way to rebuild, we’re seeing in U.S. cities a move to try to open up planning and decision-making and come up with new ideas.”
The key here is the buy-in from the community that leads to new solutions and a greater sense of togetherness.
“It’s similar to business incubators, with groups working together, pooling resources to grow and create,” says Fuchs, author of Mayors and Money: Fiscal Policy in New York and Chicago. “It’s essentially building these places up from the bottom so they are once again viable from the view of city government. They don’t just energize, they become the engine that leads to better city governance.”
Fuchs sees a limitation and argues that, “Crowd-sourcing can’t build bridges. This idea that you can bring in a nonprofit and build an efficient solution and then magically bring that to scale, that’s a pipe dream. We need the people to shake things up, but nothing can really be brought to scale without government.”
Let me reiterate that last sentence again: “nothing can really be brought to scale without government.” We couldn’t agree with Fuchs more. Nothing in the public works space (parks, pools, speed bumps, skate parks, trails etc.) can be brought to life without buy-in from government. But how do you couple this reality with the creativity of citizens and their willingness to invest in projects they truly care about?
This is exactly the problem that Citizinvestor is solving. By bringing these government projects to the table and posting them on a platform where citizens can financially invest in the projects they care about most, we believe citizens crowdsourcing CAN and will build bridges.