Crowdsourcing a Home of One’s Own

I’m beginning to believe that one can crowdsource almost anything: from community parties to the next big breakthrough in a case. But, this week, I found that it can even influence the landscape of our real world neighborhoods.

Neighborland.org is a website where residents of specific neighborhoods can recommend new businesses and offerings that they would like to see where they live. Want to see a Vietnamese restaurant go into that vacant building down the street from you? Let Neighborland know. If you’re sick and tired of those “Rough Road” signs signaling that the street has been chewed up, request for your street to be repaved. Neighborland tracks the requests and shows which comments have generated overwhelming consensus and commentary. It’s a great way to see if your business would flourish in a neighborhood (what Neighborland calls promoting “smart growth”) and a great way to get involved in the future of your local terrain. So far, Neighborland only covers the city of New Orleans and its surrounding neighborhoods, but they’re looking to expand in 2011 and are looking for other cities to focus on – you just need to let them know.

It’s a tactic that’s being adopted by New York as well as they make a call for Urban Design ideas during Design Week 2011 in an initiative called “By the City, For the City.” Last spring, New Yorkers were encouraged to submit their ideas at urbandesignweek.org to tell designers what sites and neighborhood features anywhere in the city were underutilized or in need of revitalization. Together, citizens and designers will provide the groundwork for the first Urban Design Week that occurs this September in envisioning the future of New York City.

And even if you can’t change the face of the neighborhood in the real world, you can still sometimes make changes in the virtual world. Pictory photographers were asked to imagine their perfect street by submitting their favorite pictures of local gems: the best old movie theater in Seattle, say, paired with the greatest place to get gelato in Rome, all on one street. The results can be found here.

What other ways do we change the face of our local communities through crowdsourcing? What changes would you like to see to the face of your neighborhood? Where do you think Neighborland should venture next?

One response to “Crowdsourcing a Home of One’s Own

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