Connecting people to change cities
Participate to the funding of the platform which inspires and connects citizens changing cities !
Connecting people to change cities
They are entrepreneurs, members of associations or ordinary citizens, and make things happen all around them!
From San Francisco to Berlin via Dakar or Bangkok, these creative inhabitants put their energy to the service of their street, neighborhood or city by launching concrete projects in all areas (urban agriculture, mobility, housing, recycling , education, etc.), to improve their daily lives and those of others.
These passionate men and women, builders of more positive cities, we called them "New CITYzens", and for 5 years now, we have been telling their stories to inspire other citizens to follow their lead and take action.
To continue our mission, we want to create a crowdsourced platform at a global scale that would allow citizens from all over the world to share, in one place, the positive initiatives of their city. Ideas, reports, portraits and practical information, we dream this website as a perfect place for all those looking for inspiration and concrete solutions to build a new city for tomorrow.
These passionate people we are talking about, Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent have met dozens in their film "Tomorrow". India, England, the United States, Denmark ... they have traveled the world to tell the story of all these project leaders, often unknown, but who propose concrete solutions to prepare for the future.
Sharing this same conviction that we need to create links between those who do and those who seek ways to act, Cyril Dion gave us the great pleasure to become our official supporter for New CITYzens.
In the following video, he shares with us his vision about what characterizes these new "citizen actors", explains why it is important to highlight them to mobilize all those who would like to engage too, and why New CITYzens can play a real role in this mission :
We could also mention Efren, Regina, Neelam, Piyush or even Guillaume... all simple citizens, and all project leaders that decided they could make daily life better for themselves and the people around them.
Urban agriculture, shared transport, participatory habitat, collective waste management system … the revolution is underway in the cities and it is being handled by a new generation of enthusiastic citizens, both creatives and entrepreneurs, who get together at their own scale to reinvent their cities and to improve the urban everyday life.
A great movement is on its way, and we want to know more. How diverse are these local initiatives, scattered around the world? How do we know of these project leaders and come to understand what they do? New CITYzens is here to collect and document these stories for inspiration and, in turn, launch new initiatives for our streets, our neighborhoods, our cities.
What if we could then gather all of these in a unique space, accessible and open for all the world’s citizen to participate. This new space is precisely this collaborative platform where all those good practices could be highlighted and showcased. But it will also be the place to connect citizens with the actors of local initiative to accelerate this movement of positive cities builders !
So yes, indeed, a platform… again !
But what makes us believe in this project isn’t the tool itself, but rather the story and the people that goes with it.
The New CITYzens adventure begins in 2011, when Nicolas and Fanelie, the 2 co-founders, decide to meet the women and men behind initiatives, from different parts of the world, and then archive their stories using interviews, videos, photos, articles. From Rio to Istanbul passing through Stockholm and Manila, they discovered those citizens each more enthusiastic than the last .
This new generation of citizens, both creative and entrepreneurial, is rolling up sleeves around the world to reinvent the way we live in our cities. Despite distinct living contexts and quite diverse projects, these men and women all seem to share one common DNA. And they decided to give them a common name : the « New CITYzens ».
The NGO they founded took this name.
Back from their adventure and convinced that those examples could inspire others to take action, they decided to share what they had produced, online and by organizing workshops in schools, hospitals, universities, so that young citizens from 18 to 30 years old could, in turn, take action.
After 2 years and a half of exciting exchanges and positive feedback on New CITYzens, they decided to transform this personal project into a collective one. New members joined the project, filled up with energy and with the same desire to make this movement even bigger.
Florian, Pauline, Jean-Christophe, Silvana, Rim, Safia, Natalia, Fran… Paris, Montreal, Lima, Geneva, Berlin… the team got bigger and eventually became international.
New reporter teams flew to Sarajevo, Phnom Penh, Mumbaï, La Paz, and New York to enrich the gallery of portraits.
More interactive workshops were designed, engaging citizens in discussion and leading them to implement local positive actions.
Finally, other contributors joined us to spot daily new initiatives worldwide.
In less than 24 months, we went from 2 to 90 contributors and earned the UN Habitat reward. We feel a growing excitement around the project... we tell ourselves we are on a good track. Now our goals and dreams are bigger!
To succeed further, we got organized . We decided to articulate our mission around 3 concrete and complementary actions : Detect positive initiatives, produce video reports and organize workshops.
Detection: Online monitoring, meeting projects leaders while attending local events, preliminary research work, lead by a community of curious « Spotters », gives us a global vision of citizen innovations worldwide.
In 5 years, Spotters discovered more than 500 initiatives.
Reporting: The reporters are photo and video lovers that go on site to meet with project leaders, and record their stories through inspiring short documentaries. It is then the occasion to understand the project, but also the project leaders’ inner motivation and the source of their inspiration.
Since 2011, our reporters went to more than 30 cities worldwide and produced over 60 inspiring video reports.
Workshop organization: The 3rd action consists in organizing neighborhood workshops where our
" Shakers" start with a local challenge identified by the inhabitants and, together; imagine and build a concrete solution for the given neighborhood or city. We then use our discoveries and video reports to show that taking concrete action is possible and easy to take concrete action.
So far, we have been able to reach more than 2000 citizens by organizing these creative workshops.
These actions are led collaboratively, by a community of citizen contributors. Students, young planners, journalists or simple city lovers, everyone is welcome to participate to this project according to its free time and skills. One can have one precise role or can accumulate several.
With this logic, we feel ready to go to the next step, the one which will mobilize a larger New CITYzens city network !
Now, our goal is to make New CITYzens the global movement on the local urban initiative. A movement that connects those who act- or wish to act- to drive original initiatives at their scale.
To set this active community, we are going to engage citizens at a local scale and create a «New CITYzens » city network.
To do so, we are going to share our operational methods. To help local team to start, we will share:
With these tools, any citizen could quickly become a positive project spotter for his city, the one who tells stories of citizen that are acting positively for his neighbordhood (reporter) or the one activating new local initiatives (shaker).
And this is where the future platform makes all its sense.
On one side, to make the learning tools more accessible for the community of contributors but also to become a unique place to meet and mingle for all citizens willing to build more positive cities.
We are seeking to transform our current website into a real tool of discovery and animation.
3 majors evolution are planned :
• Add a « world map » interface with an interactive globe where all the actions of the community will be consolidated (spotter’s detections, reporter’s productions, new urban initiatives activated by our shakers).
• Add collaborative functionalities with a user profiles management system where community members will be able to contribute directly on the website (projects spotted, short docs produced…).
• Make the website accessible in several languages (English, Spanish and French first) to communicate with an increasing audience and a growing international community
To make this platform the true friendly and learning space, we are also going to add :
• Exchange places to encourage interaction between community members (call for ideas, local mobilizations..)
• Shared resources for citizens to start their own projects (tutorials, MOOCs, New CITYzens methods....
• Interactive buttons to comment, share and improve New CITYzens short docs
• Interactive connexion between initiatives from all around the world that deal with same topics (eg: urban agriculture) to share good practices
Talking about « functionalities » can be a bit tedious right ? Let’s rather imagine some concrete user cases…
On the future www.newcityzens.com :
• Silvana, from Lima, who is used to spot daily initiatives from her city but also from elsewhere discovers online an urban agriculture initiative in a Berlin neighbordhood. She shares it instantaneously on the world map New CITYzens by adding an « initiative file ».
• Oliver, who loves to produce video as well as being a positive city lover, get a notification telling him a new project has been spotted in Berlin. Silvana’s spot gives him a great idea of project to film for his next video report. 1 month later, his video report is done and Oliver can share it on the platform.
• For Manon, who lives in Paris and who regularly organizes workshops for encouraging young citizens to launch positive projects for their neighbborhood, Oliver’s short doc will be the perfect content to inspire and motivate young students willing to rehabilitate a wasteland in their street.
But it will also be for…
• Sam & Leslie, who launched a mobile street library system in New York, a place to contact us and make their project more visible worldwide (and why not, connect with other cultural project leaders) !
• For Anna, a young planner living in Barcelona, on the lookout for new trends, a reference to get information and daily inspiration !
• For Sarah, from Marseille, who loves to meet the city-of-tomorrow actors, to have access to the local community events on that topics.
Allocation of funds
To fund this platform, we undertook several requests to public institutions, private sponsors and fundations which are interested by those topics and would be willing to be part of the adventure. Many meetings have occured these past months and could led to positive partnerships very soon.
An other reason comes from the New CITYzens DNA itself. A profoundly citizen project, which believes that enthusiasm, collective energy, and community can move mountains.
Isn’t « Crowd-funding » therefore a natural direction ?
A first successfull crowdfunding experience in 2015 supports this belief.
With 11 500 euros collected and a target overpass to 192%, our first crowdfunding campaign had been a success and with the generosity of all contributors, a new set of 25 video reports had send our reporters to Balkans, Asia, Latin America and North America !
Also we thought it was a tremendous opportunity to showcase what we are doing, and our motivation to accelerate this movement.
For these reasons, join the movement and help us now. It’s your turn to participate and advance this project to a growing audience, and to become a proactive member of a global positive movement.
Want to become a New CITYzens ? Hesitate no more and join us !
As said earlier, we will rely on 3 types of financial resources to develop the platform : the crowdfunding campain, public institutions and private sponsors.
The total development cost is valued around 30 000 euros. With this amount, we could develop the perfect platform, the most complete one with all functionalities wished.
However, with 18 000 euros, we will develop a fist version with major functionalities (interactive map, profil management system, sharing functionalities…).
Therefore, if we reach the campaign objective and that one of our other funding possibility is confirmed, we will for sure launch the platform in the first 2017 months.
At each additional step reached, new functionalities will be add for improving the platform. What we would really love : launching a New CITYzens mobil app for spotters to share in real time their spots with a picture of the initiatives seen on the streets.
Community members all have different profiles and backgrounds but are somehow interested by these topics and work to build more positive cities. Here are some of them...
To follow each step of this campaign, follow us on our Facebook page ! Daily news will be posted ! Thanks for your support and don't hesitate to share it around !