Can Crowdfunding Save Our Cities?

By now, everyone has heard of at least a few startup companies that have realized incredible success launching new products via crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and GoFundMe. What they may not know is that the power of crowd sourced capital is also poised to change the commercial real estate market for the better.

Oftentimes, blighted and underserved communities in desperate need of renovations and upgrades remain in a state of disrepair due to lack of financing, as many cities in America’s rustbelt stand as a testament. But thanks to emerging platforms like BlocPower and SmallChange, for example, new channels for real estate investors of every size and shape—and the impact will be tremendous.

To be sure, the size of the combined real-estate and crowdfunding market is estimated at $11 trillion, according to crowdfunding site iFunding, and active global crowdfunding platforms generated $16.2 billion in 2014—a figure that is expected to more than double in 2015 to $34.4 billion, according to crowdfunding research firm Massolution.

Case in point: global brand Heineken recently launched a crowdfunding campaign titled, “Save Your Seat,” in partnership with Indiegogo and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to support the renovation an iconic structure:  the Miami Marine Stadium, once among America’s most iconic destinations, hosting on-the-water performances from legendary acts like the Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys.

The stadium has gone unused for years, and now, Heineken plans to help restore this crucial piece of Miami culture for generations to come by matching up to the first $20,000 that is contributed within the first two weeks.

This is just one small example of how crowdfunding can transform our cities, buildings and communities one donation at a time. To learn more about crowdfunding and architecture, read the report from the AIA.