Brickstarter prototype, courtesy of Wired.
A website expected to launch later this year aims to use the internet to make civic engagement easier than attending an ANC meeting.
Brickstarter, founded by Bryan Boyer and Dan Hill, is a platform for civic-minded residents to post project ideas — like a community garden or a park in a currently vacant space — and navigate the bureaucratic jungle together.
Similar to its likely namesake Kickstarter, Brickstarter serves as a way to help raise funds for the projects, but is also designed so that community members will actively engage in the ideas. In addition to funding, Brickstarter projects may ask for 6 hours of a lawyer’s time or 4 hours from a structural engineer.
Wired recently interviewed the founders and got a look at the prototype:
“Western cities in particular are full of ‘holes’ of unfilled potential: vacant lots, disused buildings, urban ruins and properties held unoccupied by market forces,” says Boyer, “Brickstarter proposes that a healthy 21st century city has to have a more explicit pathway for citizens to move ideas from activism to activity.”
Brickstarter seems particularly interested in supporting creative, “first-time” ideas. In another interview, Boyer and Hill give the example of the first food truck to take root in a city. The first person who has the idea will have to navigate through many government agencies before they are able to start the business, and Boyer and Hill believe that many folks may become overwhelmed by the process and give up. This is the sort of situation where Brickstarter could offer support in the form of collective knowledge.
Like our homegrown Popularise, Brickstarter believes that the internet will make it much easier for residents to get involved in the way their neighborhood looks. We’ll keep you updated as they approach their launch.
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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/brickstarter_takes_community_development/5867
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