| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS Feed

Innovation & Job News

CrowdsourceDC, a tool for triple-bottom-line development, launches

CrowdsourceDC, a grassroots social media platform that allows anyone to post ideas for improving the District, provided that they are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable, launched in January 2013. According to Neil Takemoto, founder of the platform, the company is still in early days, gathering ideas, building momentum, and looking for a key person to help organize monthly design thinking events.

"Crowdsource is a tool to allow people to identify, campaign for, and ultimately create places in D.C. that don't yet exist," Takemoto explains. People post ideas for projects on the site with as much detail as they can, and then the crowd takes over, "liking" their favorite ideas. The tool is already in place in four other locations—Bristol, Conn.; Hempstead, N.Y.; Huntington Station, N.Y.; and Nashua, N.H.

What happens after the "likes" depends on the project. For example, an entrepreneur wants to test the waters for a new venture. "A woman seeded an idea for a deli in a run-down neighborhood" in Bristol, Takemoto says. "She said, 'If I get a hundred likes, I'll do a taste testing.' She had a hundred likes in two days!" She is now planning the event. She'll also get help negotiating a lease and help writing a business plan from local developers. Says Takemoto: "That spirit exists in D.C., but no one has organized it."

Projects can also be scaled in larger ways. In 2010 in Bristol, a group of 14 people started a movement to convert a failed shopping mall into a pedestrian-only piazza. The campaign quickly grew to 2,300 members and partnered with Renaissance Downtowns, a real estate development company. They completed a feasibility study and wrote a first-stage plan that was approved by Bristol's city council, which has led to new businesses opening in the city's downtown core.

"People always say, 'I wish D.C. had this, I wish D.C. had that,'" Takemoto says. "Let's try [crowdsourcing] here."

As for funding, Takemoto states that a "larger real estate entity" is interested in the crowdsource model, and that he has spoken with several other potential sources. He also points to Kickstarter and Indiegogo as natural ways to rally crowds that have already liked a project.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts

Related Company

Related Content