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Keystone Crossroads: Rust or Revival? explores the urgent challenges pressing upon Pennsylvania's cities. Four public media newsrooms are collaborating to report in depth on the root causes of our state's urban crisis -- and on possible solutions. Keystone Crossroads offers reports on radio, web, social media, television and newspapers, and through public events.Our partner stations are WHYY in Philadelphia, WPSU in State College and witf in Harrisburg. Read all of the partner stories here.Pittsburgh’s WQED joins the collaboration as an associate partner. Support for this project comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

For Urban Development That Can’t Attract Traditional Financing, Crowdfunding Jumps In

Lindsay Lazarski
Crews work on new construction in the East Liberty. Early projects in such neighborhoods that may have trouble securing funding from big banks, could benefit from crowdfunding platforms like Small Change, says founder Eve Picker.

Eve Picker takes her computer out of her bag and clicks through a mostly empty website of filler text and stock photos. Picker is a Pittsburgh-based developer with a portfolio of complicated projects, but she says this one is probably the most difficult thing she’s ever done. In just a few weeks, the newest real estate crowdfunding platform, Small Change, will launch.

Real estate is known to be a high-returns, lucrative investment previously open to a very few, very wealthy insiders, and crowdfunding seeks to disrupt that. It’s not the first such platform – Fundrise, for example, has been doing this since 2012 – but the idea is to raise money for urban development that might have a hard time locking down loans otherwise.

Small Change also touts a particularly urban mission, only taking on development with the potential to make cities better. 

But the ‘crowd’ who can take advantage of Small Change – and other, similar platforms – remains pretty small.

Read more of this report at the website of our partner Keystone Crossroads.