Nature Based Solutions - Implementation Models Database

Implementation model

Urban greening by crowdfunding platform in Ghent

A short description of the NBS project

As many cities in North West Europe, Ghent is facing with the impacts of climate change and it is experiencing negative effects due to excessive rainfall and rising temperatures. Given that additional green areas can help in addressing these effects, the city is actively developing policies to enhance its number of green areas. To realise these measures Ghent is looking for opportunities to actively involve its citizens in developing bottom-up initiatives in order to (1) stimulate co-creation partnerships rather than fully funding the initiatives and (2) ensure that the initiatives that do receive funding are supported by the community. Thus, the city of Ghent has developed a crowdfunding platform that allows citizens to share their ideas and raise the necessary funds to realize them. Today, two projects addressing climate adaptation have been successfully realized with support of the crowdfunding.gent platform: • “Lekker dichtbij!” project establishes mini-gardens on balconies of social housing. Through urban farming more green areas are created contributing to mitigate extreme temperatures in urban areas. In addition, local food production reduces the need for long-distance transportation and therefore prevents an exhaust of carbon dioxide emissions. Urban farming also often requires less intensive agriculture as the farming is carried out on a smaller scale. In addition, “Lekker dichtbij!” project enhances social integration by stimulating cooperation between the residents from various cultural backgrounds. The project was successful in raising the pre-defined funding goal. • “the Edible Street” project transforms the traditional stone facades into vertical gardens to create additional green areas while stimulating local food production. Similar to the “Lekker dichtbij!” project, it contributes to the enhancement of green areas and to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Although this project was not successful in raising the complete pre-defined funding goal, it was successfully implemented by scaling down the project. Instead of placing 100 planters in 5 streets, 88 planters were placed in 3 streets.

NBS Implementation context
Location Belgium, Ghent (Belgium)
Latitude
Longitude
Status Ongoing (2015-2019)
Dates
Description of the NBS
NBS Scale object (building, etc.)
NBS Impacts scale • Object (building, etc.) • Neighbourhood • City
Urban density/ Soil consumption High (dense city center, etc.)
Combined with other(s) environmental friendly solution(s)?
if other
NBS Typology
Open the NBS Solution Explorer
NBS Uban Challenges
Climate Issues Climate mitigation
Climate adaptation
Other 0
Urban water management and quality Urban water management and quality
Flood management
Other 0
Air Quality Air quality at district/city scale
Air quality locally
Other 0
Urban Space and Biodiversity Biodiversity
Urban space design
Urban space management
Other 0
Urban Regeneration and Soil Air quality at district/city scale
Other 0
Resource efficiency Food, energy and water
Raw materials
Waste
Recycling
Other 0
Public health and well-being Acustic
Quality of life
Health
Other 0
Environmental justice and social cohesion Environmental Justice: Recognition
Environmental Justice: Procedural Justice
Environmental Justice: Distributional Justice
Environmental Justice: Capabilities
Environmental Justice: Responsibility
Social Cohesion
Other 0
Urban planning and governance Urban planning and form
Governance in planning
Other 0
People Security Control of crimes
Control of extraordinary events
Other 0
Green economy Circular economy
Bioeconomy activities
Direct economic value of NBS
Other 0
Other
Stakeholder and Governance
Who Started this initiative? Governments • Local government/municipality (the City of Ghent)
Contracting Authority
Project manager (leader and main partners): entities names, and know-how involved
Who (else) was involved in the project ? (Inhabitants, local association, etc.)
More detail on the process and the role of the different stakeholders (How did it happen?)
OPTIONAL Considering the actual impacts, who are the primary beneficiaries of the project.
Cluster Governance Model Description
cluster1_traditional_public_administrationParticipatory_planning_and_budgetingThe person submitting an idea becomes a ‘project initiator’. This person needs to provide a short description and a funding goal for the project. People who provide financial backing to a project are known as ‘supporters’. Once the project is published, supporters can donate during a pre-defined period of time. The donated amount per idea (minimum donation of €5) is viewed as an indicator of community support; only the projects with sufficient community support will become financially viable. Additionally, the city has provided a fund of €55.000 per year specifically assigned to the crowdfunding platform. Initiators can choose to apply for 25, 50 or 75% of municipal funding. To be eligible for funding, the pre-defined amount of co-funding needs to be raised. This condition is a means for the city to ensure that the project has sufficient community support. Per project the maximum amount of municipal subsidy that can be obtained is €5.000. The first year (2015) of the crowdfunding.gent platform has been successful in generating total revenue of €70.000. Of the total number of projects, 80% raised enough funding for implementation. So far 2 projects received an additional municipal subsidy. This subsidy amounted to a total of €1.480. The development of the platform involved both fixed and regular costs. Both costs have been covered by the city of Ghent. The costs were lower than the first year revenue collected by the crowdfunding projects. The specific IT-know-how necessary for the development and maintenance of a crowdfunding platform required the involvement of an external party. Next to the fixed costs, the city needs an internal project manager who can act as the central contact point on behalf of the city. This policy officer needs to be continuously involved in the project on at least a part-time basis in order for the project to run smoothly. Private investors can become eligible to fiscal benefits when supporting a project of their choice. Organisations, such as companies, foundations, associations, are able to make a direct deposit into the account of the project. This allows them to bring the expenses in as their tax deduction in a similar fashion as non-crowdfunding donations. A "regular" donation to a crowdfunding campaign is run through a platform account and therefore is not eligible for tax deductions. In example, the ‘Lekker dichtbij!’ project submitted its application in the spring of 2015, reached its funding deadline on June 14, 2015 and was implemented on June 19th, 2015. The project set €735 as its funding goal, but during the funding period it exceeded this amount by raising €822. The city of Ghent then co-financed the project for an additional €480. Even though the opportunity of additional public funding is offered, it does not seem to be an important motivator for project initiators to submit an application. In the first year of the crowdfunding platform only 2 projects applied for and received additional funding. Other benefits, such as publicity through the publication of the project on the platform, seem to be a more decisive factor in the consideration whether or not to submit an application.
Financing
Global Estimated cost of the project 50k€ - 200k€
Cluster CLUSTER 3: Citizen inclusion CLUSTER 4: PUBLIC-PRIVATE
FM • Crowdfunding; • Private Finance Iniative PFI
Description of the financing mechanism The person submitting an idea becomes a ‘project initiator’. This person needs to provide a short description and a funding goal for the project. People who provide financial backing to a project are known as ‘supporters’. Once the project is published, supporters can donate during a pre-defined period of time. The donated amount per idea (minimum donation of €5) is viewed as an indicator of community support; only the projects with sufficient community support will become financially viable. Additionally, the city has provided a fund of €55.000 per year specifically assigned to the crowdfunding platform. Initiators can choose to apply for 25, 50 or 75% of municipal funding. To be eligible for funding, the pre-defined amount of co-funding needs to be raised. This condition is a means for the city to ensure that the project has sufficient community support. Per project the maximum amount of municipal subsidy that can be obtained is €5.000. The first year (2015) of the crowdfunding.gent platform has been successful in generating total revenue of €70.000. Of the total number of projects, 80% raised enough funding for implementation. So far 2 projects received an additional municipal subsidy. This subsidy amounted to a total of €1.480. The development of the platform involved both fixed and regular costs. Both costs have been covered by the city of Ghent. The costs were lower than the first year revenue collected by the crowdfunding projects. The specific IT-know-how necessary for the development and maintenance of a crowdfunding platform required the involvement of an external party. Next to the fixed costs, the city needs an internal project manager who can act as the central contact point on behalf of the city. This policy officer needs to be continuously involved in the project on at least a part-time basis in order for the project to run smoothly. Private investors can become eligible to fiscal benefits when supporting a project of their choice. Organisations, such as companies, foundations, associations, are able to make a direct deposit into the account of the project. This allows them to bring the expenses in as their tax deduction in a similar fashion as non-crowdfunding donations. A "regular" donation to a crowdfunding campaign is run through a platform account and therefore is not eligible for tax deductions. In example, the ‘Lekker dichtbij!’ project submitted its application in the spring of 2015, reached its funding deadline on June 14, 2015 and was implemented on June 19th, 2015. The project set €735 as its funding goal, but during the funding period it exceeded this amount by raising €822. The city of Ghent then co-financed the project for an additional €480. Even though the opportunity of additional public funding is offered, it does not seem to be an important motivator for project initiators to submit an application. In the first year of the crowdfunding platform only 2 projects applied for and received additional funding. Other benefits, such as publicity through the publication of the project on the platform, seem to be a more decisive factor in the consideration whether or not to submit an application.
Business Model
Class Type Description
-
Temporal Factor
Expected time for the NBS to be fully effective after its implementation
Expected life time of the intervention
Already feedbacks on the project? In case, the project has already been adapted to new requisites, please explain the modifications brought
Success and limiting factors
Process Enablers
Class Subclass Type Description
Knowledge_driversGeneration of evidence Collaboration Awareness • Lesson learnt through implemented projects; • Co-creation; • Climate Change The crowdfunding platform has been successful in identifying ideas that are less suitable to be financed by subsidies. Reasons for this ineligibility can be the small amount of requested budget or a mismatch with the requirements or objective of existing subsidies. To ensure the maximum output, the city of Ghent did not define specific criteria that the projects need to meet. They rather focused on defining the types of projects they would not support. These definitions were then translated to a set of minimum conditions that the projects need to meet to be included on the platform. For example projects with a commercial aim or with an explicit religious, philosophical or political nature are not eligible for funding. Each application is manually reviewed by a policy officer to ensure the projects meet these requirements prior to publication. The fact that the crowdfunded projects have the potential to create larger ripple effect is demonstrated by ‘the Edible Street’ project. The implementation of this project was quickly followed by a similar project in Kortrijk; Groene Straat (Green Street). This initiative finances the realisation of planters and other forms of ‘vertical green’ by offering bulk purchasing. The initiator based the project on a quick assessment of the core elements of the Ghent project that would allow a scaling-up of the project to a city level. The Groene Straat website describes 22 projects where additional (edible) green has been realised. Another project that followed the Ghent example is ‘Groenselare’ in the city of Roeselare, which started providing information to citizens on ways to create green facades after the city was named the most ‘grey’ cities of Flanders in 2014. A limiting factor of this type of instrument is financial resources needed to build and maintain the platform. In addition sufficient man hours need to be made available for a city staff member to manage the content of the platform. Currently the City of Ghent has assigned one part-time platform manager. The platform is considered successful if 1 out of 3 projects reach their pre-defined funding goal. A 100% success rate would not be realistic as several success factors are beyond control of the city. For example, the project initiator is not necessarily an experienced project manager. In addition, it is difficult for the city to control the policy topics that the project proposals on the crowdfunding platform address. For example, more cultural than environmental projects were proposed in the first year of crowdfunding.gent. The use of crowdfunding as a policy instrument implies acceptance of the fact that the exact outcome cannot be controlled. On the other hand it offers a great opportunity to enhance innovation, cooperation and solidarity in a city.
Governance_driversProcess efficiencies Self- governance Co-creation and participation • Collaboration; • Grassroots innovations and transition initiatives; • Co-production
Economy_driversDe-risking Government support • Sharing risks; • Removal of administrative barriers
Process Inhibitors
Class Subclass Type Description
Knowledge_drivers--
Governance_drivers--
Economy_driversBudget constraints • NBS not a priority
What makes this project a pioneer?
Field
Criteria
Brief description of the innovativeness
Has the project received a prize, an award?
Has the project received a media coverage? (in reviews, in press, etc.)
IM Keywords
References