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Crowdfunding Urban Infrastructure?


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While there are some huge issues associated with the strategy I have to wonder if there is some potential for Charlotte to use crowdfunding (e.g. the Kickstarter model) to finance urban projects. This article in Salon today outlines the use of crowdfunding to finance a small bikeshare system in Kansas City and an attempt to crowdfund their streetcar.


While the scale of our streetcar would likely make crowdfunding impossible, I can see some potential for smaller projects such as greenway extensions, retail incubator space or dog park.


The article does point out a long list of problems with the approach (ethics of individuals paying for community projects, cost-overruns and maintenance to name a few). However I can't help but think that there is potential for this strategy to work well for small but high-impact projects in a progressive town like Charlotte once was.

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I've thought about this before, especially with things like "abandoned" lots -> pocket parks or urban gardens. I'm sure it has happened in the past, albeit before kickstarters were popular on the internet with things like fundraisers/bake sales. But it's interesting to think of what can happen on a micro or grassroots level within just your neighborhood.

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