In a workshop last week about smart and connected cities led by Cisco, Allison introduced me to the idea of unconferences and City Camps. http://citycamp.govfresh.com/ It comes from the information technology headspace but our table was linking it to community building. As she describe the London experience, it seemed essentially to be
1) a bunch of people get together
2) they workshop
3) and in the end actually pitch something to a funding body that had been pre-arranged. They then go off to implement city-changing ideas.
Since I am currently looking at government grant systems around liveability, I thought that City Camps format seemed simple and great. Idea + Money without the in-between hassle of complex criteria and grants administration, and likely generating some more innovation.
In my research I had found Phillips trying to a similar thing with their Livable Cities Award that funds projects on a competition/voting base http://because.philips.com/. While In New York , I did apply for a job in IBM because urbanism was also becoming part of their corporate responsbility agenda (…man, that would have been a great job) http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/sustainable_cities/ideas/
Interesting challenge/workshop- based funding also came up from CEOs for Cities – via Design Observer – http://changeobserver.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=22738
CEOs for Cities’ latest project, The Us Initiative, aims to redefine the American Dream by exploring five key elements of it in a series of five multiday challenge events. Each event teams up national thought leaders in urbanity with local stakeholders to identify a set of principles that can be applied to all cities and can be implemented locally through practical quick-start strategies. The series kicked off in Indianapolis in October, where the Livability Challenge tackled how green space, art and architecture can be harnessed to increase a city’s “quality of place” quotient. The second event was held in Detroit last week. Entitled The Community Challenge, it focused on the notion of “robust public life” in the American city. For two days, a roomful of experts in civic engagement, activism, public policy, journalism, government, volunteerism, technology and other facets of citizenship set out to define and dissect “robust public life” — what does its contemporary conception look like? How can it be measured? How can communities use it to attract and retain talent. In less abstract terms, part of the challenge was to generate ideas for investing $75,000 provided by the Knight Foundation in the form of grants funding progressive projects to drive community attachment.
There seems to be money out there for clever urban ideas, and collaborative model to support ideas. It is actually those who are truly savvy in finding the money and making strategic partnerships do we get the equation. Community Idea + Money + Action = Cool Stuff