Kickstarter for Neighborhoods Brings Crowdfunding's Potential to Urban Renewal

Spacehive is a London-based company that's helping community centers, parks, and parade organizers get the funding to change their communities.

As the crowdfunding bug continues to spread, the fund-raising strategy has radiated outward from Kickstarter's domain of art and video, to health expenses, to support for local business. Now a new website called Spacehive proposes a way for neighbors to fund public works projects for the betterment of their local communities.

Spacehive's goal is "to make it as easy to fund a new park or playground for your area as buying a book online." While that's a bit ambitious—no matter how great a site's user interface is, it won't negate the slow, bureaucratic process of urban planning approvals—the site does proposal a straightforward way to build awareness about a project and get it funded.

Founded by a team of six Londoners, Spacehive lets you post a description of your project (like a new playground), a promotional video, and a fund-raising goal, and then promote the project to your networks to get donations. Just like Kickstarter, you can only keep the funds if you meet your goal. Projects that have already secured funding through the website include a new community center for the village of Glyncoch, Wales and a 3-meter high model of Queen Elizabeth's head, floated along a canal to celebrate her 60th year in power. Projects in search of funding include a proposed revitalization of a decrepit East London dock.

The service targets creative people who want to improve their neighborhoods but also design professionals looking to fund their big ideas, public institutions and nonprofits with community-based missions, and businesses who see a potential marketing opportunity by investing in a local neighborhood. Ultimately, the site provides a platform for those who want to take the DIY-ethos into the public sphere. "Most of us assume we have to take what we're given when it comes to neighbourhood planning," says Spacehive. "Where do you start if you want to change things?" The answer: online, perhaps.

Image courtesy of Spacehive


The global climate change strikes on Friday are said to have been the largest protest for climate change in history. An estimated four million people participated in 2,500 events across 163 countries on all seven continents. That included an estimated 300,000 Australians, but a total of zero were in Hyde Park in Sydney, despite a viral photo that claims otherwise.

Australian Youth Coal Coalition, a pro-coal Facebook page, posted a photo showing trash strewn across a park after what appears to have been a large event. "Look at the mess today's climate protesters left behind in beautiful Hyde Park," the photo was captioned. "So much plastic. So much landfill. So sad." The only problem is, the photo wasn't taken after a climate change protest. It wasn't even taken in Australia.

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via GOOD / YouTube

Last Friday, millions of people in 150 countries across the globe took to the streets to urge world leaders to enact dramatic solutions to combat climate change.

The Climate Strike was inspired, in part, by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl from Sweden who has captured worldwide attention for her tireless work to hold lawmakers responsible for the climate crisis.

The strike gave people across the planet the opportunity to make their voices heard before the U.N. General Assembly Climate Summit in New York City on Monday.

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Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

As world leaders meet to discuss new ways to tackle climate change at the U.N. Climate Action Summit, they might miss one very big part of healing nature – nature. In a new short film, youth climate change activist Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot, a writer for the Guardian, talked about how we need to use nature as a solution to climate change.

There's a huge push to curb emissions, but it's not the be all end all of handling climate change; we also need to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. While we don't have technology to do that for us, there is another solution. "There is a magic machine that sucks carbon out of the air, costs very little, and builds itself. It's called a tree," Monboit says in the film. Researchers found that we could get rid of two-thirds of the carbon dioxide that we've emitted during the industrial era just by growing trees. That amounts to 205 billion tons of carbon. Right now, deforestation of tropical forests is responsible for 20% of current greenhouse emissions.

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Climate Action Tracker

In 2016, 196 countries signed the Paris Agreement, pledging to combat climate change by taking action to curb the increase in global temperatures. The Paris Agreement requires countries to report on their emissions and what steps they're taking to implement those plans. Now that the countries are coming together again for the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York City, it's worth taking a look at what kind of progress they've made.

The Climate Action Trackerkeeps tabs on what each country is doing to limit warming, and if they're meeting their self-set goals. Countries are graded based on whether or not their actions would help limit warming to 1.5 degrees C.

According to a recent article from National Geographic, The Gambia, Morocco, and India are at the head of the class. "Even though carbon emissions in The Gambia, Morocco, and India are expected to rise, they'll fall short of exceeding the 1.5-degree Celsius limit," the article reads. Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States, on the other hand, get a big fat F. "Projected emissions in Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States are far greater than what it would take to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius."

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Screenshot via (left) Wikimedia Commons (right)

Greta Thunberg has been dubbed the "Joan of Arc of climate change" for good reason. The 16-year-old activist embodies the courage and conviction of the unlikely underdog heroine, as well as the seemingly innate ability to lead a movement.

Thunberg has dedicated her young life to waking up the world to the climate crisis we face and cutting the crap that gets in the way of fixing it. Her speeches are a unique blend of calm rationality and no-holds-barred bluntness. She speaks truth to power, dispassionately and unflinchingly, and it is glorious.

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