Revitalizing Communities Keynote — CIL

Storm Cunningham, author of ReWealth and ReCivilizing is the keynote speaker– on how citizens and crowdsourcing can lead redevelopment of communities.

He observes there are 3 typical growth patterns for redevelopment-

New development starts and slows down
Maintenance and conservation continue at a steady pace
but Restorative development continues to grow.

“Restoration economy” — the idea is that we are revitalizing things that we already have–many gov’t agencies, corporations, conservation organizations are focused on the idea of restoring the institutions we have.   Libraries fit into that.

We aren’t necessarily educating students on the concept of restoration so they aren’t prepared for that economy of restoration.  Different excitement and nonpartisan appeal for restoration/revitalization versus just staying “stabilized” and status quo.

If we are going to rebuild new libraries, why not have our children help build them too?

Problem too often is  revitalization process may end up very ad hoc without the sort of planning required.   Have to focus on the “process” of revitalizing something instead of the product.

Do we have a public engagement challenge in our cities with revitalizing things?

Citizen Led Renewal (CLR) finds its place in the scheme of things:  The Five P’s  (policy, plans, projects, polls/protests) + Programs    Communities that have had successful ongoing renewal had an actual program for revitalization that was sustainable because it outlasts the people who are there.

quarry in Vancouver that was reclaimed as park

Many recent challenges to our idea of leadership–(i.e. the Leaderless Revolution, The End of Leadership, Owning Our Future, etc.)    Crowds can lead as well/crowdsourcing.   Google “Citizen led renewal” for many examples across globe.For example, New York City turned the Highline railroad tracks into a long urban public park in Manhattan–citizens came up with the idea, revitalized–has ended up revitalizing all the buildings surrounding what once was an old rusty train track.

Trend 3– Crowd Technologies are lighting the fire under these other trends.  Social media only connects us; crowd technologies help us achieve things with those connections.

LowLine — underground park on NYC Lower East Side in old tunnels.   Started Kickstarter project to raise 100,000; ended up raising $150,000 in a few weeks–the crowd technologies accelerate everything.  Imitators can be inspired through crowd technologies–the Netherlands is now crowdfunding their own “Highline Park.”

Chinese crowdmapping pedestrian traffic, we crowdmap graffiti, disasters, etc.

Examples of crowdfunding–

Flypmode Combat Support Vehicle — World’s first crowdsourced military product. In nine months it was built and for less than $1 mill. by crowdsourcing the design process and fundraising.

SpaceHive(UK) uses combination of crowdfunding and local funding.
Indiegogo campaign to build a museum for Tesla–private/public partnership with govt matching the kickstarters fund.

Restorative development + Citizen Leadership + Crowd Technologies = Results


Use Simple intuitive technologies
Recitizen website about to debut a new version.  A crowdsourced database of growth opportunities.  Also debuting a tool called REsearcher.  People can take photo of a renewal opportunity, put in an idea about what should happen to that property and then the citizens can give feedback as to what it could be.

Public Libraries and Resilient Cities ed. Michael Dudley

What does this mean for libraries–

More projects started by library users (need to listen to them)
More ability for citizens to gain public support
More ability to get first phase funded quickly
More ability to position library at heart of community
More ability for libraries to accelerate crowd-powered approach.








One thought on “Revitalizing Communities Keynote — CIL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *