I had a great opportunity to visit the High Line in New York recently to meet some staff and volunteers who gave an excellent tour of this city regeneration initiative.
Built in the late 1920s as a freight only line the ‘High Line’ in New York served many factories and warehouses and was raised above ground to reduce congestion, improve safety and increase efficiency.
By 1980 the last train ran along the tracks and for the next decade or so the High Line became derelict and a no go area. It was only with the threat of demolition in the 1990s that local people and city organisations came together to work out a future for the line.
And what a great example of urban regeneration it has been! I was particularly impressed with how well it is managed with a combination of the Friends of the High Line volunteers and staff and the city parks dept among others. Plus how the old architecture fits in with the modern new build of offices and homes. Now a tourist attraction in its own right the next section to be opened, with views of the Hudson River, will have minimal management where visitors will be able to walk along a path through self-sown vegetation to contrast that of the more managed southern section.
More High Line images can be viewed here.
Pete Johnstone from the environmental consultancy PJ.elements was recently commissioned by the Landscape Institute to write a Technical Note on Crowdfunding for members of the Institute.
Simon Odell, Head of the Landscape institute’s Technical and Professional Services said ‘’The principle of the church spire appeal has been with us for many years, but crowdfunding in its current form is a relatively new digital method of fundraising and offers real opportunities for our members struggling on behalf of local communities on local greenspace projects to achieve a critical mass of funding in this times of public sector cuts.
But conceptually I am also interested in its potential to be a mechanism for delivering payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes, which have yet to be fully realised.
We choose Pete to write the Technical Note for his tremendous background experience with the body now called Natural England coupled with a clear expertise in environmental crowdfunding. In fact I haven’t encountered anyone who knows more about the subject area than he has.’’
The use of crowdfunding as a way of raising funds and profile is a proven business technique which is now being taken up by not for profit organisations in their drive to find new ways of raising funds. It is not going to work for every project and other fundraising methods may well be more appropriate. On large projects of, say £10,000 or more it may worthwhile combining different techniques to reach your goal. Though be warned crowdfunding is not the easy option – even to raise a modest amount of money takes time and commitment!
Crowdfunding only works where the public is inspired enough to make a pledge. If not enough people are inspired then the project is not funded.
Pete has written a case study on environmental crowdfunding which can be viewed here.
Pete is an Affiliate member of the Landscape Institute. For more information on the work of the Landscape Institute visit http://www.landscapeinstitute.co.uk/
Nb.If your organisation would like help with developing a crowdfunding strategy or project please contact email@example.com