The team of developers at Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, know that urban landscapes are full of potential for innovation. But initiatives aimed at change and progress can often find themselves entangled in a great deal of bureaucratic red tape. Renovating an old playground or installing a community garden takes a great deal of time, money, and organization, and the amount of human and financial input demanded can cause inspired ideas to struggle. To help guide activists and help get projects off of the ground, designers Bryan Boyer and Dan Hill have created Brickstarter, a prototype website that pitches projects, helps raise funds, and connects neighborhood citizens with local government.
Much like Kickstarter, Brickstarter allows organizers to present concepts using videos and text updates, outline funding goals, and set deadlines. Effort is primarily focused on the neighborhood level, and strives to facilitate more public discussion and communication with local political institutions. This helps keeps projects tied to a particular area, and helps garner support from the community. Brickstarter is set up to accommodate event scheduling, donations of both time and money, and help identify what permits and regulations need to be met to complete a project. Most importantly, it gives citizens a direct way to get involved where they live.
As the creators state on their blog: “Brickstarter reverses the polarity from NIMBY to YIMBY (‘Yes In My Backyard’), from complain to create, providing a platform for suggestions, developed and driven by participation of citizens, local business, and government. Brickstarter makes it easier for communities to voice a productive and collective yes’ to their best ideas.”