As students seeking housing, we identified key pain points: -We wanted to live with dynamic and interesting people -We wanted to live with and connect with people with a shared sense of purpose -We had had enough of commuting between our homes in suburbia to our places of work, education, and social events -We wanted to create self-sustaining cohesive community
What it does
Our solution creates connected, empowered, and self-sustainable local communities based on the circular economy model.
How we built it
To come up with our solution we conducted series of interviews with individuals in our target market. From these interviews, we discovered that individuals desire a shared sense of purpose with like-minded individuals, connectivity with their local community, the opportunity to be sustainable, and diversity in the people they interact with. Using these insights our team refined our creative solution. Our team then conducted a series of surveys to assess if individuals would respond positively to our solution.
Challenges we ran into
Initially, it was difficult for our team to identify any tangible ways in which we could fund our project. However, after deliberating with our mentors and our own desk research, our team identified 6 keys avenues through which our project could be funded: (1) Selling excess renewable energy generated back to the grid; (2) Rent from residents; (3) Usage fees (For utilities, amenities etc); (4) Projects; (5) Creating a system where CivicSphere owns shares in companies incubated in CivicSphere and gets a windfall from those that become successful; (6) Charging companies to use CivicSphere communities as test markets.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Our team is very proud of the fact that we've managed to transform our initially abstract, intangible, and idealistic dreams for the future into a tangible, practical idea that could actually be implemented in the Australian marketplace. Through further interviews, group discussions, and iterations of our initial concept, we were able to discover other possible sources of making CivicSphere such as: (1) the CivicSphere Cooperative could have a percentage of ownership in any start-up or ventures bor in CivicSphere FabLab and Maker Space; (2) CivicSphere residents can be beta testers and test market for new technology and start-ups, with companies wanting to have access to residents paying a fee to the CivicSphere cooperative.
What we learned
Through stakeholder interviews, desk research, and our own personal experiences, our team has discovered that there is a real need for affordable housing in the Australian community. We were able to get some excited feedback from two of the mentors who themselves are currently living in this shared purpose community or is interested to jump in.
What's next for CivicSphere
Our current goal is to implement our concept on a small scale, as a proof of concept. Assuming that our idea proves successful, we would aim to build and test our idea on a large, real-world scale.