The three finalists of the idea contest smart urban pioneers have basked in valuable support for their crowdfunding campaigns at Indiegogo. With the help of the crowd, their projects can soon be brought to life and help shape our future – following in the footsteps of these five projects that were also successfully crowdfunded.

Crowdfunding drawing
Realizing new ideas together: the principals of crowdfunding.
Photo: ROCíO LARA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr

There are plenty of great ideas for tackling urban challenges and improving life in the city, but they are often doomed by a lack of funds. A promising solution to this widespread issue is crowdfunding – an online call for financial support. Here, bright minds present their concept on crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo, Kickstarter, or VisionBakery, setting a minimum goal they need to reach, with hopes of reaching enough people – the crowd – willing to contribute to the project’s realization. To encourage involvement, many initiators offer perks, ranging from personalized Thank You notes or mentions to product samples or special conditions at the project’s launch. As a rule of thumb, more attractive perks also attract more willing supporters.

The following five amazing projects are already up and running, all thanks to successful crowdfunding campaigns:

Whitelock Community Farm: healthy produce from Baltimore

It all started with a vacant estate in Reservoir Hill, a social hotspot in Baltimore. Residents decided to turn the space into a farm for growing and selling healthy produce. Thanks to their initiative, and 200 helpers who supported the neighborhood project with a $10,000 crowdfunding injection, the Whitelock Community Farm became what it is now. To this day, the team around Alison Worman, which helped breathe new, sustainable life into the location, keeps the project running on the proceeds from their homegrown food sales.

Crowdfunded Whitelock Community Farm
Crowdfunding helped realize the Whitelock Community Farm. Nowadays, the farm finances itself.
Photo: Whitelock Community Farm

Luchtsingel Rotterdam: the bridge of 10,000 owners

Over the past three decades, the formerly buzzing area around the Schieblock office complex became increasingly desolate. The reason: A six-lane highway literally cut Schieblock off from the rest of the city. Recently, the creative geniuses at ZUS (Zones Urbaines Sensibles) architectural studio decided to bridge the gap between Schieblock and the new city center with a clever urban intervention. A €25 contribution earned supporters their name on an actual part of a wooden pedestrian bridge. After just a few weeks, 17,000 planks had already been sold and construction could commence – at the time of writing, Luchtsingel was an impressive 390 meters long.

+ POOL: swimming in New York’s East River

While New Yorkers have easy access to two rivers, both are too polluted for swimming and bathing. Not deterred by this fact, the intrepid initiators of + POOL decided to circumnavigate the issue by building a pool within East River. Contributors’ names will be engraved in the finished pool’s tiles – and if the project manages to “sell” all of the required 70,000 tiles, crowdfunding would offset all of the envisaged construction costs of $15 million. This summer will see an initial test run of the employed filter technology (financed through the first 1,400 tiles).

+Pool infront of Manhattans skyline
New Yorkers are crowdfunding their own swimming pool in front of Manhattan’s skyline.
Photo: Rendering by + POOL. Designed by PlayLab and Family New York courtesy of Friends of + POOL

Lava Mae: mobile shower facilities

Homeless people deserve the chance to take a shower. San Francisco-based Doniece Sandoval started an Indiegogo campaign to finance her project Lava Mae (“Wash me”). With the $58,000 raised by her campaign, supplemented by some of her own money, she managed to have three buses fitted with shower stalls. These mobile units have been operating across the USA since 2015. An additional bus joined the fleet early this year – also financed via crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding bus with showers by lava mae
Mobile shower buses are the result of Doniece Sandovals crowdfunded project Lava Mae.
Photo: Lava Mae

Original Unverpackt: less packaging, less waste

Throw-away, single-use packaging often contains potentially harmful substances and encourages unnecessary food waste. Reason enough for Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbovski to come up with an inspiring alternative: a store for unpackaged organic products. Customers bring their own multi-use containers to the shop and help themselves to fruit, vegetables, cereals, nuts, coffee, and even olive oil. When the crowdfunding campaign started, the Original Unverpackt idea met with such an enthusiastic response that the duo had raised their anticipated €45,000 start-up capital in just a few days – reaching more than €100,000 by the end of their campaign.

Time to get active and support our finalists on Indiegogo!

Since December 2015, we’ve been looking for inspiring ideas that improve life in the city via our smart urban pioneers idea contest. Now, we’ve reached the final leg of the long journey: Our three finalists – Cabin Spacey and Urban Affairs 2016 from Berlin and myLike from Munich – have launched their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns, looking forward to your support. Click here to make a contribution to better city living!

K-MB_smart-urban-pioneers_Indiegogo_Teaserimage_finalistenThe smart urban pioneers finalists: Cabin Spacey, myLike and Urban Affairs 2016.