TED Conversations

Daniel Lear

Founder & CEO, Make Architecture Happen

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Empowering communities through crowdfunded architecture

Crowdfunding has the potential to be a powerful tool for architects and designers. It is becoming a way to democratize the often rarefied world of architecture, making projects happen in neighborhoods lacking access to traditional funding sources.

Crowdfunding architecture is a way to empower communities and gives designers the freedom to rethink traditional approaches to design problems and methods of building.

By minimizing the amount of money needed to invest in projects and opening up to the community for investment, projects are validated by their potential contributions to the community.

How do you think crowdfunding will change the field of architecture and what challenges do you think the concept faces as we look towards the future?


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  • May 4 2014: Well for one if the community directly see their money going into the building then I think they would have a better sense of ownership and responsibility. I think it would cut down on public vandalism.
    • May 5 2014: Reminds me of back when the !Kung (I think--it may have been a different group within the San) were allowed to hunt local animals for sustenance. They took proprietary interest in the animals. Poachers learned that outsiders who came to take skins lost their own skins. Then environmentalists started meddling and insisted that the local animals had to be "protected" from the local people. The local people now hire themselves out to guide poachers or poach, themselves, for the international market. The locals lost their proprietary interest.
      • May 5 2014: In Africa they are teaching the locals that there is good money in nature tourism and along with it many ways for other side business adventures. So if they preserve Nature as it is the tourists will come forever, if they destroy it the people have nothing and have in effect destroyed themselves. A lesson the entire world should learn.
        • May 12 2014: So, to "preserve nature", we teach the "primitives" to be the source of entertainment for people from rich countries...

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