blog-the-independent

Crowdfunding gets Liverpool’s elevated park off the ground | in The Independent 02/05/14

by Jonathan Brown

The project has been compared to New York’s High Line

The project has been compared to New York’s High Line

If the urban planners had had their way in the 1960s motorway traffic would have thundered along elevated highways above the streets of Liverpool on its way to the Mersey docks. Luckily it never happened.

Today all that is left of that brutal concrete vision are two inner city flyovers – widely regarded as white elephant reminders of the post-war love affair with the speeding car.

Now local people have an extraordinary plan to transform the unloved structures into a cycle and pedestrian-friendly parkway-cum-venue which will return a key area of the city to the people.

More than £40,000 has been raised by public donation through civic crowdfunding site Spacehive to begin a feasibility study on whether the Churchill flyover might become a promenade in the sky complete with arts spaces, landscape gardens and coffee shops.

The project has been compared to New York’s High Line – a hugely popular 1.5-mile linear park built on the site of an old railway, which has revitalised an area of Manhattan’s West Side.

Designer and independent retailer Kate Stewart of Friends Of The Flyover – one of a group of local professionals and their supporters campaigning on behalf of the project – said the scheme could bring spread the benefits of city centre regeneration.

“What has become really important to the campaign is how strongly people feel about it. That is the benefit of the crowd funding process. The city has really taken this to heart and seized the ambition,” she said.

At present the Churchill Way soars above the public realm hastening traffic past the municipal magnificence of the Walker Art Gallery, World Museum and the new Central Library acting as a forbidding barrier to the north and south Liverpool.

“It is emotionally grim. It is grey, dank and wet. It is also structurally grim in terms of light and water,” Ms Stewart said.

The plan was hatched in response to a strategic investment document published by Liverpool City Council, which proposed the removal of the flyover, the only surviving part of a wider plan to give Liverpool an urban motorway network in the 1970s which would have seen the M62 brought right down to the banks of the Mersey.

It is estimated the cost of knocking it down would have been up to £4 million – nearly twice as much as it would cost to turn it into a park, it is claimed.

Under the plan the walkways would be rejuvenated and used for staging events followed by the traffic carriageways themselves. Supporters say that in the past the flyovers have been closed without bringing traffic chaos to the city.

Andrew Teacher, policy director of Spacehive, said the funding model had already delivered citizen-led new projects elsewhere in the UK such as a free wi-fi area in Mansfield town centre, a London sculpture walk and transforming a Welsh phone box into an art gallery.

“This represents a growing trend for people taking the public realm into their own hands and using civic crowd funding as a way to enhance the environment. Anyone with a great idea can get it out there,” he said.

This article first appeared on The Independent website.

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Liverpool Becomes Latest City With High Line Plans | in Arch Daily 05/05/14

by Rory Stott

The Churchill Flyover in Liverpool. Image © Flickr CC User Arthur John Picton

The Churchill Flyover in Liverpool. Image © Flickr CC User Arthur John Picton

Thanks to a group called Friends of the Flyover, Liverpool has become the latest city with aspirations to build its own High Line-style elevated parkway. The group have raised over £40,000 on the civic crowdfunding website Spacehive to conduct a feasibility study on the elevated Churchill Flyover, with the aim of creating a park, events space and cycle route. Liverpool Council currently has plans to demolish the flyover at a cost of £4 million – however they are said to be open to the proposal by Friends of the Flyover, who hope to show that they can deliver a better solution for around half the cost. You can read the full story on the Independent.

This article first appeared on the Arch Daily website.

blog-huddled

Cloud funding: Liverpool raises cash to turn derelict flyover into urban park | in Huddled 22/04/14

by Grace Nolan

Churchill Way, by We Make Liverpool

Churchill Way, by We Make Liverpool

Campaigners have succeeded in their first step to turn a derelict flyover in Liverpool into an urban sky park.

Over £40,000 has been raised through Spacehive, the world’s first civic crowdfunding website. Pledges made through the portal are philanthropic on the basis that projects have to be for the public good.

The Friends of the Flyover group raised £40,800 from 360 people to turn the flyover into a “promenade in the sky” with a space for arts events, markets, cafes, shops and community gardening projects.

The campaign was set up by independent retailer Kate Stewart, Designer Steve Threlfall and architect Mark Bennet after a council document outlining a new public space strategy for the area proposed it’s demolition at a costs of £4m.

The group’s campaign, which is backed by Liverpool City Council, wants to use The Flyover as a catalyst to reconnect the existing residential communities in north Liverpool with the city. They also plan to improve the pedestrian walkways of the structure to create a better user experience around the city’s heritage quarter, Marybone neighbourhood and part of Liverpool John Moores University.

The cash raised will pay for a feasibility study to take the plans forward.

Kate Stewart, co-founder of Friends of the Flyover, said:

“We are delighted that so many people have supported this idea and that we’re now in a position to move forward with the next stage of The Flyover. The Spacehive campaign has captured the hearts and minds of many people locally and beyond and we are both humbled and excited about the next stage and our newly established responsibility to deliver what is now the vision of so many people. We’re also grateful for the support of the council and the many local and national businesses that have become involved financially and by giving time and expertise.”

Chris Gourlay, founder of Spacehive said:

“The campaign managers underline what can be done with energy and spirit to engage strangers under the umbrella of one great idea. The Flyover offers a unique take on urban regeneration and as a former capital of culture Liverpool is the perfect location for such a scheme.”

This article first appeared on the Huddled website.

blog-the-guardian

We built this city: the smartest urban crowdfunding projects – in pictures | in The Guardian 28/04/14

by Chris Michael and Elena Goodinson

From pedestrian bridges to city centre waterslides, sculpture parks to public pianos, here are some of the smartest and wackiest crowdfunded projects for urban improvement

Luchtsingel complex
The Luchtsingel complex in Rotterdam includes a rooftop vegetable garden and park connected to the centre of the city by a 390m wooden pedestrian bridge, which is scheduled to be finished by the end of this year. Crowdfunders can fund a section of the bridge, even just a plank, in exchange for being able to customise it with their name or message to the city. Photograph: Ossip van Duivenbode

Friends of the Flyover
When the Churchill Way flyover in Dale Street, Liverpool, was targeted for demolition, a group came together to use crowdfunding to pay for a better solution … Photograph: Alamy

Friends of the Flyover's vision of the Churchill flyover
… and this is an artist’s impression of what they proposed: a multiuse space that would regenerate the rundown area around the flyover, as well as saving the cost of demolition. The money has been successfully raised through crowdfunding, and all eyes are on what happens next. Photograph: Friends of the Flyover.

Luke Jerram waterslide
In Bristol, artist Luke Jerram proposed a giant temporary public waterslide for city centre. Called the Park and Slide, it has raised funds through the civic crowdfunding website Spacehive.

Luke Jerram piano's
Jerram is perhaps best known for his project to put free pianos into public spaces, such as St Pancras train station in London and Times Square in New York, shown here. Play Me I’m Yours has featured in various other European cities; Jerram’s next stop is to encourage a crowdfunded effort in Kiev.

Memphis Civic Solar
Memphis Bioworks is in the process of using the crowdfunding website IOBY (In Our Back Yard) to raise money for Memphis Civic Solar, a project that aims to install 1.5 megawatts of solar energy capability across 30 different municipal buildings across the city. Photograph: Brandon Dill

DOME
The O2 arena in London, formerly known as the Millennium Dome, cost taxpayers an eye-watering amount when it was first built to mark the year 2000. A new proposal for a crowdfunded sculpture walk could transform this neighbourhood that never quite met its lofty ambitions. Photograph: Martin Godwin

Greenwich sculpture walk
The proposed Greenwich sculpture walk, called The Line.

Queen's Jubillegal Head project
Not all civic projects have to be grand in scope. Smashing its goal of £366 by one whole pound, the Queen’s Jubillegal Head project created this beautiful effigy of HRH which sailed down Regent’s Canal in east London to mark the diamond jubilee in 2012. Photograph: Jenny Matthews/In Pictures

Glyncoch Community Centre in Wales
A more serious effort to use crowdfunding to buttress sagging municipal budgets: Glyncoch Community Centre in Wales. It raised £792,433 for a multi-purpose community centre to host activities from bingo to Taekwondo to an IT centre, in the hopes that the jobs and learning opportunities “will help reverse the cycle of deprivation in the area and bring about a real physical and community renaissance”.

Davis Islands pool in Tampa, Florida
Davis Islands pool in Tampa, Florida, is a 1920s swimming pool which was redeveloped using a combination of municipal and community cash, raised through crowdfunding. Photograph: fleischmangarcia.com

The Long Bench
The Long Bench is just what it says on the tin: a long bench on the seafront promenade in Littlehampton, West Sussex. It claims to be the biggest bench in Britain, and each slat is marked with a name or message from one of its thousands of crowdfunders. Photograph: Alamy

The 123rd Street Garden in Harlem, New York
The 123rd Street Garden in Harlem, New York, was destroyed by a building collapse in 2012. Now the community has banded together to raise funds to rebuild it, using the crowdfunding site IOBY. Photograph: New York City/Alamy

This article first appeared on The Guardian website.

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Helena Bonham Carter and the case of the failed city crowdfunding experiment | in The Guardian 28/04/14

by Paul Bailey

Crowdfunding actual urban projects, like bridges (done) or potholes (not yet), is a controversial idea – but one thing is clear: having movie stars on board is no guarantee of success

Luchtsingel bridge

Focused on the crowd, not the funding … the crowdfunded Luchtsingel bridge served a real urban need: to connect a neglected part of Rotterdam to the city centre.

Helena Bonham Carter was effusive: “This project is so exciting!” She and her husband, Tim Burton, were celebrity supporters of what they trumpeted as a bold experiment in crowdfunding. Called the Invisible City, it was a plan to create three giant treehouses in Regent’s Park, London, which would act as platforms for culture, performance and debate – a world, as the press release put it, of “collaborative happenings”.

The creation of artists Claudia Moseley and Edward Shuster, the project sounded promising. There were discussions with the council, support from the Royal Parks and consultations with wildlife experts. The Evening Standard and Time Out covered the story, understandably lured by the glitz of Burton and Bonham Carter and by the idea that the Invisible City was attempting to raise the necessary funds – £500,000 – on Kickstarter. With the project claiming to have the community and “shared ideas” at its heart, surely crowdfunding was the way to go.

Crowdfunding actual civic projects – real, useful interventions in cities – isn’t necessarily anything new: just think of the number of church roof repairs funded by congregations. But in the digital age it is an idea gaining currency. One shining example is Luchtsingel, the “crowdfunded bridge” to connect a neglected neighbourhood in Rotterdam to the city centre. Members of the public could “sponsor”, or fund, a section of the 390m wooden pedestrian bridge. In exchange, they could customise their section – even just one plank – with a name, a wish or message to the city. The experiment was a success: Luchtsingel bridge will be finished this summer.

“Crowdfunding is a way of gathering an interested crowd just as much as collecting funds,” says Kate Stewart of Friends of the Flyover, which was formed to prevent the demolishing of a concrete flyover in Liverpool. In 2012, a report on the city proposed that the flyover be destroyed, at an estimated cost of £3m-4m. Stewart and her group decided it would be better to repurpose the flyover and in doing so regenerate the local area. They worked together with the local authority, institutions and businesses, but they also turned to the crowdfunding website SpaceHive.

Helena Bonham Carter

Helena Bonham Carter and her husband Tim Burton pose with her Commander of the British Empire (CBE) medal, after an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in central London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday February 22, 2012. See PA story ROYAL Investiture. Photo credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Formed in 2011 with the express intent of encouraging city projects, SpaceHive has been used to fund a free wireless broadband network in Mansfield and a cage cricket area in south London. Friends of the Flyover used it to successfully propose transforming the flyover into a raised urban park and civic space. “Although we have raised funds from a variety of sources, including the council, we wanted people involved from the beginning, and so chose crowdfunding as the way to go,” Stewart says.

Other SpaceHive crowdfunding projects include the Park and Slide, a giant (temporary) water slide for Bristol’s city centre. Its creator, Luke Jerram, was also behind the Play Me I’m Yours project, which places free pianos in cities across the globe including at St Pancras train station in London. “In Geneva it was first paid for with government support in 2010,” Jerram says of the pianos. “A year later they fundraised for it to return, through crowdfunding. By this time, the public valued and understood the project, as they’d already experienced it the year before.” Developers have successfully used crowdfunding to construct new buildings in New York City. Another civic crowdfunding idea is Brickstarter, which addresses the fact that just raising the money to build something in a city isn’t enough – you have to get permission. Funded in 2012 by Sitra (the Finnish government’s innovation fund) after its creators saw that the majority of “consultations” with the public were generally negative engagements, Brickstarter aims to help move public involvement from “complain to create”, though for now it remains on the drawing board.

So the Invisible City seemed a no-brainer. With endorsements from Bonham Carter and Burton, superlative access and connections to local authorities, the treehouses in Regent’s Park should have been an easy success. In the event, it raised a commitment of just £27,000, a paltry 5% of its goal.

What happened? Joost Beunderman, from London-based architectural and strategy practice 00 [Zero Zero], argues that the ingredients of a successful crowdfunded urban project are simple. “What they tend to have in common is that the community of potential funders see that the creators of the project are authentic and credible – about their goals and about the role of community involvement,” he says.

Luke Jerram pianos

‘The public already valued and understood it before being asked to fund it’ … street pianos in Bristol. Photograph: Luke Jerram

The emphasis, in other words, needs to be on the crowd, not the funding. In the case of the treehouses, it seems there was little community consensus that they were really necessary: might it not just be another playground for the cultural elite? After all, who wants to be told by a multimillionaire how amazing a project would be if you paid for it? “In many of the more successful cases, people are asked to fund the second stage of a project, after a first stage has already made tangible impact,” says Beunderman. “Or at least when a real community of interest around a project has already been built, so the public can see with confidence what difference their money will make.”

Civic crowdfunding has also generated a certain amount of controversy. Should it be the responsibility of the community to fund city improvements, rather than municipal government? If you pay your taxes, why should you pay for bridges? Is civic crowdfunding really an example of David Cameron’s “big society”, in which governmental involvement, and importantly financing, is reduced?

Of course, nobody is proposing that we crowdfund the fixing of potholes – yet. Where crowdfunding really comes into its own is by letting the community help decide what should happen in their area, and then help to make it happen. By its nature, crowdfunding works on voluntary contribution, which gives funders a personal stake in a given project that they wouldn’t have if it were funded by government. The Invisible City might have been an interesting civic project to fund, but – for now at least – it has yet to gather a crowd.

This article first appeared on The Guardian website.

blog-bay-tv

Cloud funding: Liverpool raises cash to turn derelict flyover into urban park | in Bay TV Liverpool 19/04/14

By Paul Eeles

Friends of the Flyover

Campaigners have succeeded in their first step to turn a derelict flyover in Liverpool into an urban sky park. Over £40,000 has been raised through Spacehive, the world’s first civic crowd-funding website. Pledges made through the portal are philanthropic on the basis that projects have to be for the public good.

It’s listed here.

The Friends of the Flyover group raised £40,800 from 360 people to turn the flyover into a “promenade in the sky” with a space for arts events, markets, cafe’s, shops and community gardening projects.

The campaign was set up by independent retailer Kate Stewart, Designer Steve Threlfall and architect Mark Bennet after a council document outlining a new public space strategy for the area proposed it’s demolition at a costs of £4m.

The group’s campaign, which is backed by Liverpool City Council, wants to use The Flyover as a catalyst to reconnect the existing residential communities in north Liverpool with the city. They also plan to improve the pedestrian walkways of the structure to create a better user experience around the city’s heritage quarter, Marybone neighbourhood and part of Liverpool John Moores University.

The cash raised will pay for a feasibility study to take the plans forward.

Kate Stewart, co-founder of Friends of the Flyover, said: “We are delighted that so many people have supported this idea and that we’re now in a position to move forward with the next stage of The Flyover. The Spacehive campaign has captured the hearts and minds of many people locally and beyond and we are both humbled and excited about the next stage and our newly established responsibility to deliver what is now the vision of so many people. We’re also grateful for the support of the council and the many local and national businesses that have become involved financially and by giving time and expertise”

Chris Gourlay, founder of Spacehive said: “The campaign managers underline what can be done with energy and spirit to engage strangers under the umbrella of one great idea. The Flyover offers a unique take on urban regeneration and as a former capital of culture Liverpool is the perfect location for such a scheme.”

This article first appeared on the Bay TV Liverpool website.

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Churchill Flyover and Strawberry Field | in BBC Radio Merseyside 14/03/14

Development plans for Churchill Flyover, and Strawberry Field to be opened to the public.

This interview was first aired on Tony Snell in the morning on the BBC Radio Merseyside broadcast.

blog-cycle-travel

Liverpool plans bike route in the sky (with diamonds?) | in Cycle Travel 16/04/14

by Richard Fairhurst

Friends of the Flyover

An ambitious plan to transform a Liverpool flyover into a ‘bike route in the sky’ has sailed past its first hurdle.

The Churchill Way Flyover is proposed for demolition by Liverpool City Council, at a cost of up to £4m. But the Friends of the Flyover think it would be better reinvented as a public space, cycle route and walkway, with markets, allotments, and exercise areas along its length.

The first challenge for the Friends was to raise £40,000 for studies into the project – which they succeeded in doing on Monday night. 361 people chipped in to help pay for the work. The money will be used to undertake detailed surveys, work out business plans, and consult with the council, Liverpool John Moores University, and National Museums Liverpool.

Kate Stewart, from Friends of the Flyover, told the Liverpool Echo:

“It has really been quite overwhelming to see how much the city is taking it to heart. Lots of businesses have been supportive and it feels more like a partnership across the city. The public have been incredible.”

The project is deliberately modelled on New York’s High Line, where a mile-long disused railway viaduct became a public open space. If it comes to fruition, there will be cafés, independent shops, and market stalls along the length of the flyover.

For cyclists, a new route would be opened up between the city centre and Lime Street station, currently an unpleasant experience on a bike. The flyover would be lit at night thanks to wind and solar energy generation.

This article first appeared on the Cycle Travel website.

blog-liverpool-echo

Campaign group have beaten the clock and raised funds for feasibility study to transform Liverpool flyover | in Liverpool Echo 15/04/13

By Eleanor Barlow

Group needed to raise more than £40,800 to carry out study

Flyover from above, Liverpool

Friends of the Flyover’s vision of the Churchill flyover

A campaign group hoping to transform a Liverpool flyover tonight secured the money it needs to get its project off the ground.

Friends of the Flyover hit their target of raising more than £40,800 needed to carry out a feasibility study on turning turning the Churchill flyover into a “promenade in the sky”.

The group has raised money on a crowd funding website but only had until last night to reach the target.

Kate Stewart, from Friends of the Flyover, said: “It has really been quite overwhelming to see how much the city is taking it to heart.

Watch: New community vision for flyover

“Lots of businesses have been supportive and it feels more like a partnership across the city.

“The public have been incredible.”

The proposals would see the roads turned into cyclist and pedestrian-friendly routes with planting, kiosks, cafes, lighting and power infrastructure in a scheme modelled on the High Line in New York.

It would also see a programme of cultural events developed and could include a “theatre in the round” at the circular pedestrian ramp behind the World Museum.

Friends of the Flyover's vision of the Churchill flyover

Friends of the Flyover’s vision of the Churchill flyover

The project would cost between £2m and £3m.

The council has proposed demolishing the flyover in its future planning strategy.

The group has raised money through a crowd funding website but only has until midnight to reach the target.

The Friends of the Flyover group was set up after the city’s 2012 Strategic Investment Framework (SIF) proposed the removal of the Churchill flyover, which runs from Islington, past Central Library and the World Museum though to Dale Street.

This article first appeared on the Liverpool Echo website.

blog-city-central-bid

Funding deadline for Flyover project | in City Central BID 12/03/14

Pledge Campain for the Flyover

Pledge Campain for the Friends of the Flyover

A crowdfunding project has just weeks to go to meet its target to look into turning the Churchill flyover into an urban park for Liverpool.

The project is the brainchild of entrepreneur Kate Stewart who is lobbying the council to create an urban walkway/park instead of a proposed £3m demolition.

Kate, who also runs Made Here in Metquarter and specialises in building design, said: ‘’Our vision will deliver a public space of benefit to residents and visitors, connecting neighbourhoods and civic buildings with the rest of the city. We’ve been overwhelmed with the response from all walks of life. With creative use of low cost materials, this great scheme won’t cost the earth.’’

The Spacehive funding target is to raise £41k by April 15. If met it will trigger detailed plans into options such as planting, kiosks, cafes, lighting and other infrastructure.

This article first appeared on the City Central BID website.