New website aims to foster city building in Toronto
Launching in Toronto today is a new online platform that's designed to make community projects more easy to realize. For lack of a better analogy, the system resembles what you might get if you combined Kickstarter and SeeClickFix (but on a larger scale). Called Projexity, the site provides a system by which community members can launch neighbourhood improvement projects, seek donations, and solicit design ideas. While it might superficially appear like a fairly standard crowdfunding model, the project differs in at least one crucial way: it explicitly encourages collaboration.
Here's how the company describes the process. "Community leaders post their prospective neighbourhood improvement project on Projexity and solicit micro-donations from the public (with optional rewards for differing donation amounts). Once funded, local designers
and architects can submit designs for the project - which in turn are voted on by the public. Besides funding and designs, Projexity also allows leaders to seek volunteers."
The first part isn't anything new (save, perhaps, for the very specific community improvement focus), but encouraging the involvement of designers and architects and allowing the public to vote on design proposals is a novel approach to city building that brings various stakeholders into conversation with each other, thereby fostering community and neighbourhood improvement all at once.
If there's a potential drawback, it's that Projexity leaves a lot of the initial work in the hands of community members. It sounds like a significant time commitment will be required for those looking to post projects (estimating the cost of materials and labour, putting together a cost breakdown, brainstorming how to get word out about the project, etc), which may discourage the average joe from getting involved. Or maybe I'm just too pessimistic.
The first Toronto project on the site involves the expansion of the 707 Market at the Scadding Court Community Centre. It offers a pretty good idea of how the pitches would ideally be posted to the site. Should they all look like this, Projexity could become a very useful tool for improving our communities.
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