Professor in Residence, Department of Architecture, GSD, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA
This paper describes a participatory development strategy that leverages the cooperative nature of a sharing economy. Three case studies will be explored that provide unique strategies for empowering community. These crowdsourced projects pool resources and expertise in order to design and build projects that resist gentrification, stimulate investment, and build community. Residents utilize the participatory actions of establishing a pro forma, acquiring land, securing financing, selecting professional engineers and contractors, and ultimately constructing the project all as larger components of community building. The models of community development presented here offer an alternative to the traditional designer-client dichotomy and allow the once-clear boundary between architect and client to be redrawn. Also, by sharing resources, community members are able to become active participants in their built environment.