In recent years, crowdfunding websites have taken the world by storm. Sites like Kickstarter have been used to fund books, films, products, and even been used to fund architecture projects, with success for projects like +Pool in New York and the Luchtsingel in Rotterdam. However, one drawback which prevents such ‘kickstarter urbanism’ from taking off more is the way the platform constrains the design of the projects: in both instances, construction elements are offered as rewards for the backers, who get to mark their contribution by having their name inscribed on the project itself. In response to this, other crowdfunding sites specifically tailored for designers have used different models for raising money. Spacehive works by leveraging the interest of local people in an urban project, doing away with the rewards system in favour of the implicit reward of improved public space.
A new web site called Make Architecture Happen is bridging the gap by providing a way to draw funds from a worldwide audience without compromising on design freedom.
It's great to see this type of community global support now being applied to Architecture.
The ability to bring creative and functional Architecture can bring a wealth of benefits to the community, both practically and socially.
I'd like to see something similar happen with crowd sourcing design...