The City of Kansas is already pretty active on the platform and is running several campaigns at the same time. Besides generating additional money, Neighbor.ly gives the city an impression of which projects really matter to the inhabitants, or at least to which communal projects they want to donate a bit of money. In Kansas City inhabitants can choose, for instance, between a bike sharing program (consisting of separate campaigns for various stations in different areas of the city), a renovation of the city’s eight main fountains, sidewalk renewal, or free Wi-Fi in public spaces. Also groups of citizens can launch crowd-funding campaigns on Neighbor.ly, and even companies can try to find support to kickstart implementation of their product or service in a specific neighborhood.
Besides all the opportunities that this new way of generating money for urbanism provides, there’s also a less convenient angle. The decision making process about governmental investments in the city could easily be influenced by the willingness of inhabitants to reach out a hand financially. Some projects, however, are less appealing to crowd-funders or supposed to be carried out in less fortunate communities. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the project is less important. Crowd-funding, in that sense, should probably not affect the neutrality of the local public sector. What shows to be a community-driven bottom-up-kind of city-making could easily become a new form of privatization of urbanism. Apart from that, crowd-funding by governments could easily lead to new ways of letting citizens pay extra for services that they already had paid for by means of taxes.