For instance, we all know about Kickstarter, which invites everyday people to back small-scale projects proposed by other everyday folks. We've covered a lot of their work in the past few years. Projects like the Rekordit (pictured above), which modifies an Ikea bookcase to display records, were funded and are at various stages of completion. I love looking at all the great stuff people make, and have supported everything from a knit beer cozy to my neighborhood's Cinco de Mayo parade. What if that cabinet or cozy was an entire vacant building? And what if that building could house a weekly farmer's market? Another website is poised to launch which significantly ups the stakes. Brickstarter is to neighborhood community projects what Kickstarter is to the creative. Like Kickstarter, it will harness the power of the internet to get an idea off the ground. Through the website, individuals propose improvements to their communities, and invite others to support their work by donating money, time and talent. The goal isn't to usurp social services and government; rather it's to supplement their efforts with smaller projects.
Chances are good that Brickstarter will attract creative people with the energy and ideas to effect change around them. To ease their way, Brickstarter will also structure guidance on managing the project, navigating red tape, and seeking official approval. Brickstarter is still just a prototype, and won't be up and running until later this year. But you know that abandoned lot at the end of your block? The one you walk by every day and think, "Man, I could make some really great happen there!" Start thinking more about it, because soon you'll have help. (Images: Kickstarter; Urban Turf)