Kickstarter, a site based on the seductive idea of “crowdfunding” – in which consumers collectively invest in a product in order for it to become reality – has taken on a life of its own. From straightforward consumer products (like a cool watch) to creative projects (Roman Mars’ radio show) and even to large-scale Urbanism projects (including an entire riverwater pool), Kickstarter has evolved to finance ever more complex, ambitious, and risky endeavors.
Project Team : Fidi Global
But are there limits? Can you harness the purchasing power of the public to “crowdfund” anything? To, say, design/build a city?
Well, if Colombia’s BD Bacatá building, the first ever crowdfunded skyscraper, is anything to go by – the answer would seem to be yes.
At 66 stories tall, the mixed-use residential/commercial building, BD Bacatá will be the tallest skyscraper in Colombia, with a colossal price tag to match. However, instead of relying on one developer to finance the $240 million project, a group known as Fidi Global has pushed a different model for the skyscraper: to have Colombians fund the building themselves. After an extensive advertising campaign on billboards, radio, and TV, more than 3,000 people (see the video above) have invested in a share in the building and raised over $145 million so far.
Fidi Global has used this approach to fund clubs, hotels, malls- and now skyscrapers. If BD Bacatá proves a success, then the logical next step could be to “crowdfund” and develop not just more buildings, but our cities themselves.