In the years since the 2007/08 financial crisis, there has been growing interest in the development of urban space through novel, social media-based, bottom-up investment structures, such as real estate crowdfunding platforms. Experiments with these new spatio-economic arenas are redirecting investment by connecting novel financial instruments with innovations in communication (social media) and changing cultural understandings (“right to the city”). Crowdfunded urban developments claim to offer “ordinary” citizen investors an opportunity to participate in building the kind of urban habitats they desire. At the same time, by permitting individual investments that are often as low as one hundred euros, crowdfunded real estate accesses a hitherto untapped pool of small-scale investment capital.
Ecotech-themed urban developments have become a growing matter of concern in this context, as they tend to implement new civic and aesthetic values right in
the heart of our cities: Prominent examples include the Lowline, a crowdfunded underground park on the Lower East Side of New York City, and +POOL, a public swimming pool on New York’s East River that combines innovative engineering with civic aspirations and ecological imperatives. Focusing on New York-based real estate crowdfunding platforms, the paper will examine this formative phase, in which corporate investors have set their sights on crowdfunded real estate, hoping to turn small-scale urban investment by ordinary people into a completely new business domain and to emulate the success story of other online service providers in the sharing economy, such as Airbnb and Uber.
21 April 2017, 12:40
Estonian Writers’ House
Harju street 1
The conference is organized by the Faculty of Architecture, Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia in cooperation with the Department of Geography, Cambridge University, UK (the research project Rethinking Urban Nature).