In 2011, the earth’s human population surpassed seven billion and for—the first time in history—the majority of humans live in cities. These demographic shifts have registered an impact; great minds have been weighing in on appropriate responses and several forums have emerged inviting mass participation in that effort. These efforts all straddle the (dot) org / (dot) com divide and reflect a belief in the wisdom of crowds.
Design and Innovation consultants at IDEO created OpenIDEO, a online platform for creative exchange about the great challenges of our time, including the question of How might we restore vibrancy in cities and regions facing economic decline? The challenge themes—Create Connections, Empower Youth, Design for Well-being, Amplify Citizen Voices, Re-purpose Spaces, Foster Local Identity, and Enable Entrepreneurship—resonate strongly with the goals of 5M Place Works. The quality of the proposals emerging in the concepting phase is exciting as our the precedents the site is collecting. Check out the beautiful Wynwood Walls in Miami.
The project is featured in the pilot of HERE COMES THE NEIGHBORHOOD, a Short-Form Docuseries exploring the power of Public Art and innovation to uplift and revitalize urban communities.
Almost simultaneous to the OPENIDEO challenge, the great minds at TED invited the public at large to offer solutions to a similarly broad query by awarding their prestigious annual 2012 TED prize to the “idea” of City 2.0, the city of the future and calling for the ignition of a “massive collaborative project.” Ideas registered here: A [now closed] conversation on TED.com: If you could make a wish on behalf of The City 2.0, what would it be?.
On still another scale, The Institute for Urban Design of New York City—in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) invites submissions for an exhibition documenting crowd-sourced placemaking actions to be held at Venice Architecture Biennale, under the heading “Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good.” The exhibition will document, in their words, “a nascent movement of designers acting on their own initiative to solve problematic urban situations, creating new opportunities and amenities for the public. Provisional, improvisational, guerrilla, unsolicited, tactical, temporary, informal, unplanned, participatory, open-source—these are just a few of the words that have been used to describe this growing body of work.”
This further references the trend of crowd-sourced interventions catalogued variously as Participatory, DIY, and Tactical Urbanism.
These three initiatives that along with ArtPlace and many others speak to the convergence of energy towards creative and participatory placemaking in U.S. cities, to which 5M Place Works will contribute.