Cities look to crowdsource change in their ‘hoods

When it comes to crowdsourcing, there’s not much compelling about the Give a Minute program that allows a city’s residents to send in their ideas to improve their community via website, Facebook, Twitter, or text, like an online suggestion box. However, when a city commits to actually implementing the most popular and feasible ideas, now you have something meaningful.

That’s what New York City is adding to the Give a Minute! program, which has run its course in Chicago and Memphis. NYC’s version of the program is set to launch in late April or early May 2011 as a part of PlaNYC 2030, New York City’s strategic plan for the future, where top ideas may be backed by city resources and departments that can facilitate a project. This is all the more credible in that the city already does to some degree with its “streets to plaza” program.

Yes, there’s also top down leadership. “This kind of open call for ideas, or ‘crowdsourcing,’ as it’s called, has helped cutting-edge companies like Facebook and Netflix improve services and save money. And with more than 8.4 million people in our crowd, imagine what we can come up with,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Now, for an example where area residents are directly crowdsourcing change in their city, check out the first phase of the Bristol Rising effort in Bristol, Connecticut, where a real estate development team already in partnership with the city government, will invest in feasibility studies to incorporate into the master plan, any public amenity idea with at least 200 votes (“likes”) by March 15, 2011. While you have to live/work within an hour of Bristol to vote, anyone from around the world can be part of the Bristol Rising initiative to redefine the American Dream by joining here!

  • Really interesting Neil, thanks!

    ​Given your interest, I think that you (and the other readers here) would be really interested in some recent research that I have come across that theorizes about crowds and such similar phenomena.​ ​

    It’s called “The Theory of Crowd Capital” and you can download it here if you’re interested: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2193115

    In my view it provides a powerful, yet simple model, getting to the heart of the matter. Enjoy!