The Micro Developer

This is a section of the original post From the Ground Up: Finding Opportunity in the Future of Real Estate Development on

Who are the micro-developers of tomorrow? Most likely, they are people seeking to build something local (a community garden, restaurant, or even a few apartments to rent on Airbnb) who need help finding, financing, designing, or navigating the web of city codes and ordinances. With so many vacant lots just waiting to be transformed, cities have the potential to grow and change in a totally new way – from the ground up.

This kind of new industry, like those who have come before it, needs an online marketplace. Enter OpportunitySpace: a national marketplace for micro-developers, rapidly expanding from 5 to 25 cities, expecting to have over 100,000 listings before the end of this year. Goodbye empty lot, hello opportunity.

City Collaborative – a group of innovators and tactical urbanists focused on bringing community ideas to life in Louisville, Kentucky – is a perfect example of what micro-developers can do. Their first Placemaking project Resurfaced took an empty surface lot owned by the city and transformed it into a 3-month pop-up beer garden that captured the imagination of the entire community.

More people will now be able to participate in the Placemaking movement as cities recognize their opportunities for micro-development. So what about you? How would you transform your empty lot?


Nicholas Negroponte is an architect, noted technology visionary, and Founder/Chairman Emeritus of the MIT Media Lab. He is an advisor and investor in OpportunitySpace. For more on OpportunitySpace and to browse their online marketplace in your city, check out their website

One thought on “The Micro Developer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s