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Kickstarter: A tool for neighborhood funding?

Kickstarter is a tool  that allows people with a good idea or project to ask the internet world for funding. Can it be a source of funding for urban economic development — particularly sustainable development projects in neighborhoods?

Blogger Emily Badger reports that the City of Chicago is exploring the potential of Kickstarter with a website called Seed Chicago.  She writes:

As Kickstarter has grown over the past few years into the Internet’s go-to crowdfunding platform, it’s been tempting to try to apply the model to anything and everything in need of cash – to products, places, programs, public parks, potholes, you name it. But the concept has some clear limitations when implemented at the urban scale. Maybe a neighborhood could fund its own park and street improvements when City Hall can’t. But what about the communities that can’t afford to do that? Crowdfunding of community assets could potentially double down on inequality.

Check out Emily’s post here.



See her report here.

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Smart, Healthy & Equitable Communities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a report that offers “tools” on on how communities can apply smart growth strategies that:

  • Clean up and invest in existing neighborhoods;
  • Provide affordable housing and transportation;
  • Improve access to jobs, parks and stores.

The report was developed by EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice and its Office of Sustainable Communities.

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Stirring Change with Murals

The Atlantic is publishing fascinating series of articles on cities. One of the latest — written by Luke Barley — tells of a project in Philadelphia to help revitalize a stagnant neighborhood.

In the project, Dutch artists Jeroen Koolhass and Dre Urhahn are painting colorful murals on storefronts to trigger interest in bringing life back into the neighborhood. It’s an example of using visual arts to stimulate a conversation about the future.

The artists were commissioned by Philadelphia’s sometimes controversial Mural Arts Program. According to Barley, the two artists are hiring local residents to do the actual painting.

Check out Barley’s article and photos by K. Scott Kreider. While you’re at it, you might consider subscribing to the Atlantic’s daily emails on urban issues.