Today on Metro Morning, there was a short feature on Projexity, a “new and better way for anyone to initiate and manage neighborhood improvement projects.” This is a pretty great idea, but I feel some hesitation at the way it’s being billed as a tool for “democratizing urban change.”
Is this a much-needed tool for organizing communities? Yes! Is the Market 707 patio (their first Toronto project) a worthwhile thing to contribute to? Absolutely!
But if your ‘vote’ is contingent on getting financial backing, then it’s not a democratic process, it’s just crowd-sourcing. There are only certain neighbourhoods that are going to be able to do this. Fine, that’s how it goes. Can projects be proposed and funded in low income neighbourhoods? I guess so. But if the locals can’t fund the project, then how much say will they get?
That doesn’t mean it’s not a perfectly legitimate way to do get.shit.done in a city that spends all of this time going back-and forth about plastic bags, non-existent subways, and Hero Burger. It’s merely the branding that makes me uncomfortable.
PS: 1% of funds gathered from successful projects goes into the Projexity Improvement Fund, “driving revitalization to areas of the city that need it most.” That’s cool.