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Can an entire city be crowdsourced?

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Can an entire city be crowdsourced?

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Cities are incredibly complex things, and as such, many thinkers believe they are entities that cannot be controlled nor planned.  Instead, they thrive best when they are left to evolve naturally according to the whims of its inhabitants.  It’s fair to say McKinsey aren’t in this camp, with their production last week of a report into what it is that makes a city great.

Enter the Prodigy Network.  You may remember them from a blog back in May, where they outlined plans to crowdfund a new skyscraper in Bogota, Colombia.  Well, they’re back, and this time with slightly grander ambitions.  They’ve launched an interactive platform called My Ideal City, through which they hope to both crowdfund and crowdsource improvements to an entire city.

The project is being run by Gary Hack, the mastermind behind the new World Trade Center.

“My Ideal City brings the creativity of the masses, the ingenuity of the crowd and the dedication of Prodigy Network to create change, one city at a time,” he said. “My Ideal City can be applied to cities all over the world, even in New York. This city like so many others could exponentially benefit from the ground up approach.”

Sim City-tastic

The concept has proven an instant hit, with nearly 3,500 ideas submitted to the site already, and a community of 110,000 or so people milling around on the site.  The site is a pretty simple one to grasp.  Ideas are submitted by the crowd.  Once chosen, they then turn back to the crowd to help fund them. The call for ideas addresses issues including education, culture, the environment, civic participation, urbanization, transportation, and retail.

“The goals of My Ideal City far exceed the city limits of Bogota and inspires a global discussion of the needs and wants of the next generation of urban dwellers and has recruited top thought leaders in the industry to help create and build this city of tomorrow, built by the people of today.” Prodigy Network’s Rodrigo Nino said.

As a Colombian concept, it seemed natural that the first city to be selected would be Bogota, and meeting the challenges of rapidly growing cities in the developing world will undoubtedly be a primary challenge for the site.

It’s a fascinating concept, and certainly one that anyone with an interest in urban planning, participatory democracy or social business should keep a close eye on.

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