Event Information:

  • Fri

    Annual MISC Retreat

    10:00 am - 02:00 pmNQ 2255, North Quad, 105 S. State St. Ann Arbor MI 48109


    The annual MISC retreat will feature a keynote by Robert Goodspeed from U-M’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning as well as a reflection on the last year of MISC and a planning session for the next year. People are encouraged to bring questions and ideas. There will be lunch and coffee for people to mingle and relax after exam week. Everyone is welcome to join, but please RSVP, so that we can plan appropriately for lunch.



    Civic Crowdfunding: Internet Mobilization for Neighborhood Collective Action

    Robert Goodspeed (Taubman)


    Voluntary collective action to improve neighborhood conditions is an important way communities improve urban quality of life. In recent years, entrepreneurs have created civic crowdfunding websites that enable community organizations to easily collect donations and assemble volunteers for neighborhood initiatives through online outreach that extends beyond in-person social ties. The talk reports the results from an empirical study investigating the characteristics of successful civic crowdfunding projects, and assesses their impact on neighborhood collective action capacity. The research draws on Davis’ (1991) theory of neighborhood collective action, and Heylighen, Kostov, and Kiemen’s (2013) concept of mobilization systems to investigate two questions: 1) Which characteristics of neighborhoods, organizations, project leaders/sponsors and mobilization system use are related to collective action (crowdfunding project) success or failure? and 2) Under what conditions, and for which users, does civic crowdfunding improve neighborhood collective action capacity? The paper draws on detailed case studies of 15-20 crowdfunding projects drawn from all projects initiative in 2016 on two popular platforms (ioby and Patronicity) in New York City, Memphis, and Detroit. Preliminary results show that successful projects are able to attract diverse groups of donors, but civic crowdfunding projects only increase collective action capacity when donors are provided opportunities to become further involved. In addition, while civic crowdfunding results in funds and personnel, survey data suggest organizations may be hindered by a lack of collective consciousness required for ongoing activities.


    Robert Goodspeed is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. He teaches in the areas of geographic information systems (GIS), collaborative planning, and scenario planning theory and methods. He holds a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.C.P. from the University of Maryland, and a B.A. in history from the University of Michigan. He has been named a Leading Thinker in Urban Planning and Technology by the website Planetizen. Prior to pursuing a Ph.D., Goodspeed worked as a research analyst at the Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and co-founded three award-winning websites, ArborUpdate, DCist, and Rethink College Park.