Gary Hack, an American urban planner responsible for the master plan of the World Trade Center and the recovery of the docks in Manhattan, now the West Side Highway Park, celebrates the My Ideal City initiative as a master solution for what so many cities are facing today.
“My Ideal City brings the creativity of the masses, the ingenuity of the crowd and the dedication of Prodigy Network to create change, one city at a time,” said Hack. “My Ideal City can be applied to cities all over the world, even in New York. This city like so many others could exponentially benefit from the ground up approach.”
With the challenges of urbanization facing cities across the globe, My Ideal City is equipt to fundamentally change city planning by democratizing the process through social media and civic engagement. Since the project has launched, there have been over 3,400 crowdsourced ideas and over 110,000 people involved in the online community following projects from around the world. Once chosen, city ideas will be crowdfunded by investors to improve city infrastructure and create a better quality of life for residents. The call for ideas addresses issues including education, culture, the environment, civic participation, urbanization, transportation, and retail.
“The goals of My Ideal City far exceed the city limits of Bogota and inspires a global discussion of the needs and wants of the next generation of urban dwellers and has recruited top thought leaders in the industry to help create and build this city of tomorrow, built by the people of today.”
The success of My Ideal City was recently shared at TED Global in Edinburgh, Scotland and Aedes Architecture Forum in Berlin, Germany in the exhibit, “Bottom Up Urbanism to Design the City of the Future.” Aedes is an international leader in architecture and design communication, urban form and theme-related content. Kristin Feireiss, founder of Aedes, has been a judge of the prestigious Venice Biennale and the Pritzker Prize, which has been called the Nobel Prize for architecture. In like company, world-renowned architect, Winka Dubbledam, presented the city’s plans and the individual projects that are coming to fruition. Dubbledam is the principal of Archi-Tectonics NY and chair and professor at the department of architecture at PennDesign, Philadelphia.
“Since the inception the team has researched and developed potential scenarios in a bottom-up way to address urban city issues, such as transportation and safety,” said Winka Dubbledam. “An old fashioned city plan was not going to address current community issues and we wanted a more open-ended set of scenarios in which we could involve the crowd in a greater capacity. Our presence at Aedes shows global relevance and how this initiative can be applied anywhere in need.”
In the 19th century there were only 12 cities with more than one million people. Today, the world’s population is over seven billion with more than 500 cities with populations of over one million. The urban problems in cities in developing countries are even greater resulting in traffic congestion, pollution, insecurity, environmental impact and all the evils associated with unorganized urban densification.
The city of Bogota was selected as the first location to introduce the My Ideal City concept. Bogota, the capital of Colombia and its largest city, is experiencing an unprecedented period of growth and innovation. As a leading emerging market, Bogota’s system of housing, transportation, public institutions, infrastructure, and technology is struggling to keep pace with the expansion.
My Ideal City integrates aspects of lateral thinking developed through initiatives that are born of ideas proposed by the people, and which in turn complement the urban core issues such as mobility, safety and infrastructure. Of the 3,400 proposed ideas the following ideas are the first of many to be executed in Bogota, Colombia:
- Graffiti street art is being shared as an element of urban revitalization and beautification of the city. A single idea submitted inspired an online contest of the photos of favorite urban-enhancing graffiti. After two months, the public and the My Ideal City jury chose four graffiti artists and sought them out to showcase their work in the city. Renowned urban artist Rafael Esquer of Mexico,El Pez from Spain and DJLu from Colombia helped curate this concept.
- Another call for crowdsourced ideas is to develop the Ideal App for Bogotá, in which the crowd decides what the ideal App would be for the citizens of Bogota to have.
- In the effort to showcase the talent of Bogota, the crowd is designing an Urban Circus, bringing together the best street performers to make the first ever urban city circus just as the renowned global performances are of today.
The underpinnings of My Ideal City was born out of the BD Bacata development in downtown Bogota, which saw a revitalization of the area and strong public engagement in the project – resulting in more than 3,500 citizen investors to complete the project. Sponsoring the initiative is the international real estate company, BD Promotores Colombia.
“The My Ideal City project gives the everyday citizen a voice to express their urban development ideas with the support of subject matter experts and thought leaders,” said Emilio Borrella, CEO of BD Promotores Colombia. “Through the sponsorship of this project, we serve as a helping hand in enhancing Bogota economically, socially, politically, architecturally and, ultimately, the quality of life for residents.”