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Crowd-sourcing, crowd-funding, and crowd-surfing: At least two of those are pretty hot these days, we hear. It’s the first two, of course, that are signs of the digital world binding us together. As we bombard altruistic or entrepreneurial people with ideas (crowd-sourcing) and money (crowd-funding), we’ve never worked so closely, so suddenly, with perfect strangers.
Rally St. Louis has caught the wave. The new .org welcomes all comers to submit a wide range of ideas for bettering the city and county, and some 250 ideas have been posted to the site, awaiting votes.
Will any of them move from the drawing board to fruition? Thus far, nothing has been funded to any sort of threshold level, and nothing has entered (the non-digital) reality. But this is all new. Rally St. Louis has stirred up that critical, initial rush of optimism, along with a whiff of egalitarianism. There’s a sense that anyone, regardless of civic connections, might be the one to submit an idea that actually earns backing.
Here are some favorites:
Offering a tour of local Catholic churches: This one promises glorious architecture and maybe even lowbrow snacks. You could hit the Cathedral Basilica, take in the amazing Mexican décor of St. Cecelia, and finish up with the year-round fish fry at St. Ferdinand.
Making a bizarre, hundred-year-old science-fiction vision of the city actually happen with a giant tower a la Seattle’s Space Needle.
Creating a centrally located pick-up soccer field, with artificial turf and lights, honoring our soccer heritage. Along the same lines, starting a municipal soccer league with match-ups like Dogtown vs. Maplewood or Creve Coeur vs. Ballwin.
Building a ski lift-style “sky ride” that extends high over the city for vertiginous views. This actually could be more than a carnival attraction. If it encircled a scenic portion of the area, it might function like an aerial High Line, if you will, adding immeasurably to the local experience.
Allowing artists to go to town in underpasses, as they have at some Metrolink stops.
Planting rooftop farms downtown.
Erecting a huge neon welcome sign near the river, with a cheesy wink.
Bracketing our version of Chinatown (along Olive Boulevard in University City) with festive dragon gates.
Finally, installing clever kiosks to note the locations where big-budget films shot key scenes, like "the diner where White Palace was filmed, the Eads Bridge from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles," and so on.
Some great ideas here. We hope at least a few of them cross into reality in this lifetime.