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Lunch UP: Rob Goodspeed, "Civic Crowdfunding: Internet Mobilization for Neighborhood Collective Action"

Lunch UP: "Civic Crowdfunding: Internet Mobilization for Neighborhood Collective Action"

Presenter: Rob Goodspeed, Taubman College Assistant Professor of Urban Planning

Voluntary collective action to improve neighborhood conditions is an important way communities improve urban quality of life. In recent years, entrepreneurs have created civic crowdfunding websites that enable community organizations to easily collect donations and assemble volunteers for neighborhood initiatives through online outreach that extends beyond in-person social ties. This presentation reports the results of an empirical study investigating the characteristics of successful civic crowdfunding projects, and assesses their impact on neighborhood collective action capacity. To investigate these issues, the research project developed detailed case studies and conducted a donor survey for 15 civic crowdfunding projects in New York City, Memphis, and Detroit hosted on two popular platforms, ioby and Patronicity. Preliminary results show that successful projects are able to attract diverse groups of donors, but civic crowdfunding projects only increase collective action capacity when donors are provided opportunities to become further involved. In addition, while civic crowdfunding results in funds and personnel, the survey suggests organizations may be hindered by a lack of collective consciousness required for ongoing activities.

These sessions are a response to requests from faculty and students to learn more about what’s going on in the field in an informal environment. We hope this can inspire emergent thoughts and connections that will inform our scholarship.