Washington, DC (PRWEB) November 20, 2012
Citizens’ faith in our public and private institutions is low, and getting lower with each passing day. Most people trust neither government nor corporations to safeguard their future. The need to renew our local natural, built, cultural, and economic assets as at an all-time high, but the ability of our institutions to do so is at an all-time low.
So says Storm Cunningham, CEO of ReCitizen, L3C, a new global membership organization based in Washington, DC. ReCitizen provides free tools for citizen-led renewal to communities worldwide. These tools comprise an integrated suite of crowd technologies: crowdmapping, crowdsourcing, and crowdfunding.
With these free Revitalization Project Tools, local entrepreneurs and activists can design, fund, and launch green, social, and restorative projects and enterprises. To obtain these tools, a community must have at least 1% of their residents enrolled in ReCitizen as Active Members. This is because crowd technologies require the presence of a crowd in order to work.
Active Membership costs just $5/year, and free Passive Memberships are available for learning more about the global trend towards crowd-powered, citizen-led renewal.
Cooperating Institution memberships are also available at $250/year for foundations, non-profits, public agencies, schools, and companies that wish to support citizen-led renewal. Such cooperation is important for larger projects.
Two stories from Manhattan illustrate the power of combining citizen-led renewal, crowd technologies, and cooperating institutions.
Thirteen years ago, New York City decided to demolish an ugly, abandoned, elevated railway. Two local residents envisioned turning it into a public park instead. They heroically spent years making phone calls, sending emails, and holding public meetings to generate the citizen support needed to secure cooperation city institutions. The gorgeous High Line Park is now catalyzing redevelopment all along its 1.5-mile stretch, with a third expansion opening in 2014.
Contrast that story with the story of the Delancey Underground Park, nicknamed the “Low Line”. Two young architects envisioned turning an abandoned underground trolley terminal into an underground park. Using the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.com, they recruited 3300 supporters and $155,000 to fund the design. They accomplished in 45 days what took the High Line folks years.
That’s crowd-powered, citizen-led renewal at work. Crowd technology makes it quicker and easier to launch a project and gain strong public support. This “reverses the risk” for institutions, making it politically riskier to say “no” than “yes” to supporting the project.
ReCitizen’s website is now live at http://recitizen.org , and is accepting individual and institutional memberships from around the world.
ReCitizen is an L3C, what is sometimes called a “low-profit” company. L3C’s are for-profit companies with the heart of a non-profit. As such, they bridge the gap between for-profit and non-profit, and are able to receive impact investments from government agencies and foundation.
CEO Storm Cunningham has been called “the world’s thought leader on community revitalization and natural resource restoration” by George Ochs, Managing Director at JP Morgan. He is a well-known speaker and workshop leader on those subjects. You can learn more about his work at http://StormCunningham.com.
Cunningham’s third book, ReCivilizing: The surprising ways that crowd technology renews cities, nature, democracy, and livelihoods, will be the “recitizen manual”; the first guide for crowd-powered, citizen-led renewal. He is self-publishing ReCivilizing, in order to provide updated new editions on a regular basis, due to the fast-evolving nature of this field. You can try your hand at crowdfunding by pre-ordering ReCivilizing on Kickstarter.com between now and January 3. The book will be published in May of 2013.
Cunningham’s first book, The Restoration Economy, was published in 2002 by Berrett-Koehler. It has been called “extraordinary”, “a modern classic”, and “a landmark work” by public and private leaders worldwide. Cunningham’s second book, ReWealth, was published by McGraw-Hill in 2008. It has been called “the bible of community revitalization and natural resource restoration”.