The Kickstarter Blog

Civic Projects

From public art to community gardens, civic-minded projects launched a wide range of efforts in 2011.

Many projects created or transformed public space. The Brownsville Farm converted a derelict lot into a farm yard for students. BioCurious created a hackerspace for citizen scientists. A new cultural center debuted in Brooklyn and open-air reading rooms popped up in New York. A Georgia bus stop got a makeover. One hundred metal monkeys were hung from a Michigan bridge. A town in Minnesota got a boombox installation. A woman left disposable cameras in parks.

Other projects made areas explorable. Nathan Wessel created an alternative city map with the Frequent Transit Guide to Cincinnati. Noah Jeppson designed a map for Dallas’ tunnels and skyways. Amelia and Jamie mapped Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness. Brian Cook made a Hartford Museum Passport.

Civic motivations were a part of many projects. A photographer documented derelict rest areas, and filmmakers detailed the fates of California state parks set to close. Three New Yorkers unveiled a plan to turn the East River into a pool while two guys in Brooklyn delivered pool parties by bike. Philadelphia’s dance moves were turned into murals. The Cleveland Heights public library got a statue of Harvey Pekar.

And then there was Detroit, Kickstarter’s civic epicenter. Its projects created community gardensart installationsgreenhousespop-up shops, and software to map its ecology. A documentary on its beleaguered firefighters was a big hit, and it even got a Robocop statue. For Detroit’s creative community, Kickstarter was a WPA of sorts last year.

In a year that saw government funding on the decline, people took to Kickstarter to get things done. However humble or ambitious their goals, these projects point to a new approach to civic engagement and a new way to express a community's will.

Comments

    1. Creator Jean-Marie Simon on January 9, 2012

      Kickstarter: Kudos to you all! Our campaign allowed us to put my photo book on Guatemala's civil war into Guatemalan public schools. We exceeded our goal by 15% even though with just 10 days left we were only 33% funded.
      \Skip to minute 14:55 in this 40 minute interview to hear about Kickstarter's impact on this project:

      http://hablaguate.com/articles/10970-mesa-publica-remembering-the-past-for-building-the-future-with-jean-marie-simon-radio

      Congratulations!

    2. Creator Anton Babushkin on January 9, 2012

      I love Detroit and I love Kickstarter!

    3. Creator c8jm on January 10, 2012

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    4. Creator David Seguin on January 10, 2012

      I'm interested in funding projects in my area, but I find it hard to use Kickstarter this way, as the filtering tools show me all projects in my area, when I just want to look at something in one category. It takes more time to find projects that I'd want to support.

    5. Creator Yancey Strickler on January 10, 2012

      Thanks for the feedback on browsing local projects, David. We're at work on some updates to that. Hang tight!

    6. Creator David Seguin on January 11, 2012

      Ok Yancey, I will. Thanks!

    7. Creator xoxo on January 11, 2012

      I'd like greater access to seeing more projects within their category. In each category, I am only able to see Staff Picks, Popular This Week, Recently Successful, and Most Funded. How can I browse to see ALL of the projects in each category?

    8. Creator Yancey Strickler on January 12, 2012

      If you browse by Popular you are able to see all projects in that category, they're simply sorted by their popularity.

    9. Creator Esther Leadley on January 12, 2012

      Thank you, Kickstarter, for supporting The Ume Group in NYC.

    10. Creator Deborah Smith on February 9, 2012

      Have you thought of having a category for social issues. There are projects that will have large social impacts and others that are more local or artist impact. It would be nice to be able to view social impact projects across all categories.

    11. Creator Mayra Roldan on February 21, 2014

      Absolutely great idea and much needed Deborah......we'd like to see funding for social/cultural issues. Howboutit Kickstarter? :-}

    12. Creator jerry allen conner on June 26, 2014

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    13. Creator chouer (deleted) on November 4

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    14. Creator Shiv Shambhu on February 13

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    15. Creator Shiv Shambhu on February 13

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    16. Creator Martha about 6 hours ago

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.