Can crowdfunding save city budgets?

Via Canadian Broadcasting, Author: Anna Maria Tremonti —

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Councillor for Kanata North, Marianne Wilkinson

When the Luchtsingel bridge opened in Rotterdam last summer, some of the cheering was for the people who paid to get it built — the nearby residents. A chunk of the money for the wooden pedestrian bridge came from crowdfunding, contributions from locals. Construction continues; the slogan is: “The more you donate, the longer the bridge.”

Many people are turning to crowdfunding to get their books published, their inventions manufactured, even their cancers treated. Marianne Wilkinson is the ward 4 councillor for Kanata North in Ottawa. She spearheaded a drive to crowdfund a recreational facility for her community. She says its a way for local residents to pay for projects

Marianne Wilkinson is the councillor for Kanata North in Ottawa.

Panel: Ethan Zuckerman / Tony DeSisto

Some crowdfunded projects are a lot smaller than recreation centres. Visually impaired student got the iPad he was hoping for thanks to crowd-funding. A Boston program called Tech Goes Home at School, hooked up with the Citizinvestor site to make it happen. The site, which launched last year, is a platform for crowdfunding local government projects.

Tony DeSisto is its founder, and he also sits on the Citizens Advisory Budget Committee in Tampa, Florida.

And Ethan Zuckerman is the director of the Citizen Media Lab at MIT. He’s a well known internet activist and blogger, and he’s written about how we can make civic crowd-funding awesome. He was in Cambridge, Massachusetts.