Crowd-sourcing it in Christchurch

Date: 13th March 2014

Gap Filler Pallet Pavilion

Recently we looked at the phenomena of the sharing economy – crowd sourcing, peer-to-peer lending and collaborative consumption – and how it is disrupting traditional business models.  Great examples of this shared approach can be found in Christchurch as it deals with the many rebuild issues and opportunities following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes- the use of crowd-sourced data, crowd-sourced start-up funding and shared workspace. 

Shared work space

A recent article from Stuff identified the burgeoning trend of co-working around the city.  The earthquakes in Canterbury forced a lot of people out of their traditional working environments and many ended up at home.  But, increasingly, there is another option.

The concept of a space for freelancing individuals or small businesses from separate disciplines to share office or desk-space is not for everyone, and it is not completely new, but co-working is landing in the city more than ever before, say those behind the movement.

One of the platforms enabling this type of collaboration is Sharedspace, a website that connects people with spare space to people looking for a work or play place.  They have noticed an increase of listings of shared work spaces from Christchurch and are encouraging businesses to band together and help each other.

Crowd-sourced funding

With the need for many new facilities in Christchurch, Pledgeme, New Zealand’s crowd-funding platform, has supported the funding of some worthy business initiatives and creative community projects, such as:

Gap Filler’s Pallet Pavilion Gap Filler is a post-quake initiative activating vacant sites in Christchurch with temporary, creative projects for community benefit. Through Pledgeme they have raised $80,000 to keep the Pallet Pavilion standing.

Grassroots Yoga & Health will be a vibrant and innovative space for the practice of yoga at all levels.  Offering Christchurch’s only 200hr Yoga Alliance Certified Teacher Training Program, the centre will include a treatment room providing a range of supportive services and hands on body therapy.

Crowd-sourced earthquake damage assessment

Following the earthquakes an initiative was introduced in Christchurch where crowd-sourced analysis of remote sensing imagery, particularly high-resolution aerial imagery was used to provide rapid, reliable assessments of damage caused by earthquakes and potentially other disasters. 

Remote sensing experts analysed satellite imagery, geotechnical engineers marked liquefaction areas, and structural engineers identified building damage. The website included online training to improve the accuracy of the assessments and make it possible for even novice users to contribute to the crowd-sourced solution.

Smart Cities techonology

“The rebuilding of Christchurch following the 2011 earthquakes presents an extraordinary opportunity to fit the city with sensors and hardware, to collect data that will improve the functionality of the city and the lives of its residents,” explains Roger Dennis, founder of New Zealand’s Sensing City initiative.

The first small step in Christchurch is a crowd-sourced effort to monitor water quality using smartphones. Little Water Sensor allows residents in Christchurch to monitor their own water quality and it is the first of three sensing projects the city has planned. Next up is a pilot focused on communicating real-time information on a huge road construction project, to be followed by a sensing initiative that seeks to understand how environmental variables affect respiratory illness.

We like how Cantabrians are using technology to work together for the greater good.  Perhaps we can learn from this approach.

Posted in: Christchurch, Latest News