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Corresponding Author

Madhuri Sharma

Abstract

This study examines the role of crowdfunding and community-based initiatives in Detroit, a city that has been hurt by economic distress for several years. We start by compiling the Kickstarter projects initiated and successfully funded all over the US during April 2009-July 2012, and later focus on those occurring in Detroit only. We conduct in-depth analyses to understand the intra-urban characteristics that provide opportunities for such initiatives. By combining the census demographic data with qualitative information collected from online surveys and semi-structured interviews, we analyze the specific roles of crowdfunding initiatives in creating sustainable urban communities. This analysis finds that Kickstarter projects initiated primarily in low-income neighborhoods, and the main motivation had been the autonomy for the Kickstarter initiators who create projects on their own terms and conditions that benefits the local communities. This study is one of the first to examine crowdfunding initiatives. In an age of continuing economic downturn, grantfunding and government budgets for community projects are the first ones to be eliminated. This study suggests that the projects initiated in Detroit’s neighborhoods fill up the grantfunding gaps, thus marking crowdfunding as a contemporary way for creating sustainable processes.

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