Homeland Ties 2.0
The football club, the city’s coat of arms, the marksmen’s festival – there are many ways to identify with a city. Whether you were born there, lived there for a long time, or always wanted to live there. There are many ways to show this too. The names of cities, or parts of a map, are printed nowadays on chains, bags, posters, and on anything. Now with Crowdfunding there is a whole new way to connect with a city – by lending it your money.The platform “Lend Money to Your City” connects the city with the necessary citizens in order to support a project in the field of education, social, or family affairs. In this way, the citizens can exert some influence on which projects the Town Hall, or others communal groups voted, should be selected, promoted, and implemented. This allows residents and users who feel connected with the city to have a more direct influence on the cityscape. The procedure is simple: the citizens lend money to a bank, which in turn lends it to the respective municipality for the selected project. They get their money back with a pre-determined interest rate. If the project does not get enough supporters, the money will be reimbursed directly. So the platform works according to the principle “If a lot give a little, it is enough in the end”.
Of course, any city that would like to offer a project will have a few bureaucratic hurdles to jump over, but in view of the possibilities, this is acceptable. For example, the financing of a volunteer fire brigade has already been successfully implemented.
In other parts of the world, people have already discovered this principle too. Citizinvestor focuses on local community projects and beautifying cities in Philadelphia, Fquare offers the possibility to buy farms and plots of land and started off the project “Feed the Hungry”, which financed and rebuilt farms in remote and impoverished parts of the country. Anyone who ever dreamt of owning their own farm can borrow their start-up capital here.
Fundrise is working on the East Coast of America together with the Crowd to finance libraries, houses for the homeless, and recently a marketplace. Crowdfunding projects are getting popular here too – many people have made their dreams come true or have improved the look of their city – even if only by financing the plantation of urban green areas.
“Lend Money to Your City” is now diversifying the offer and started up the “Lend Money to Your Environment” as a sister project. The first goal: a solar park in Brandenburg, which will convert an entire industrial area into an environmentally friendly space.
It is too early to say whether the concept of promoting Homeland Ties by co-financing will be successful in the long run, or not. However, it does offer a good possibility of having a little influence on the image and functioning of a home city, or another favourite one. It may be a form of democracy that requires financial resources, but it is one where normal citizens are happy to participate in.