Civic Projects

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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.

    1. Jean-Marie Simon on

      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:


    2. Anton Babushkin on

      I love Detroit and I love Kickstarter!

    3. c8jm on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    4. David Seguin on

      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. Yancey Strickler

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

    6. David Seguin on

      Ok Yancey, I will. Thanks!

    7. xoxo on

      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. Yancey Strickler

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

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      Esther Leadley on

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

    10. Deborah Smith on

      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.

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      Mayra Roldan on

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

    12. jerry allen conner on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

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      deleted on

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    14. Shiv Shambhu on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    15. Shiv Shambhu on

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      Martha on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

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      Namaku Keren on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

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      Doa Ibu Tersayang on

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