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Crowdfunding cities : social entrepreneurship, speculation and solidarity in Berlin.

Langley, P. and Lewis, S. and McFarlane, C. and Painter, J. and Vradis, A. (2020) 'Crowdfunding cities : social entrepreneurship, speculation and solidarity in Berlin.', Geoforum., 115 . pp. 11-20.


Situated at the intersection of urban and economic geography, this paper develops and illustrates a three-step research agenda to further critical understanding of relations between crowdfunding and cities. First, we explore how crowdfunding is enrolled in shifting programmes of urban governance that valorize entrepreneurship in North America and Europe in particular. When invoked in urban governance, crowdfunding is increasingly the ‘go to’ method for mobilizing the cash, capital and collective enthusiasm necessary for social entrepreneurship and civic renewal in cities. Second, we offer a situated, qualitative case study account of crowdfunding in Berlin. In contrast with existing research, we show how a specific urban context contributes to shaping the distinctive crowdfunding ecologies that emerge in a city. Third, we interrogate the multiplicity and diversity of crowdfunding-city relations, identifying and analyzing three distinctive ecologies that have emerged to date in Berlin. While crowdfunding is indeed enabling social entrepreneurship in particular ways in Berlin, it also contributes to capitalizing speculation in booming real-estate developments and facilitates the solidarity economies of community groups and charities.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 29 June 2022.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:© 2020 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:22 June 2020
Date deposited:23 June 2020
Date of first online publication:29 June 2020
Date first made open access:29 June 2022

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