PlaceMatters logo PlaceMatters text logo

PlaceMatters Weekly Blog Roundup: March 8, 2011

Bill Gates at TED uses collapsing state budgets as a launching point to make the case for improving civic engagement, while National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation simultaneously asks if better conversations can help solve those very same budget crises. NCDD goes a step further, in fact, and challenges dialogue and deliberation professionals to “come together to STRATEGICALLY deliver free or heavily discounted services to 5-10 towns, cities or states for well-done, well-studied, well-documented, and well-publicized work on their budget crises.”

Intellitics explores crowdsourced policy making using wiki-based tools. They point out the challenge of shifting from a conventional fact-driven wiki process, like Wikipedia, to one that is as much about values as it is about factual information.

Cooltown Studios takes this idea a step further, exploring an effort in Bristol, Connecticut to crowdsource the entire downtown revitalization effort.

Cooltown Studios also offers a FAQ on “crowdsourced placemaking.”

Yet another take on crowdsourced decision-making: Createquity argues that we should reinvent arts philanthropy with the use of “guided crowdsourcing,” an approach which could offer the power of conventional crowdsourcing but also the benefits of guided creativity and engagement. Their post spells out a detailed proposal for how this might work.

The idea of guided crowdsourcing is similar to the idea of facilitated engagement covered in this week’s Museum 2.0 post on their recent experiments in “participatory audience engagement” (and an idea Museum 2.0 explored last week as well).

Our own Jocelyn Hittle (who runs PlaceMatters’ Vermont office) reflects on Vermont Town Meeting Day.

PlaceMatters also published a new report on using complex science in community decision-making processes.

Common Sense California reports on Palo Alto mayor Sid Espinosa’s “Open City Hall” efforts to foster more civic engagement in his community.

Chris Brogan writes about the future of location-based applications, thinking aloud about how cool it would be if location-based apps offered functionalities like temporary groups. Although we haven’t seen location-based apps used a lot yet in community decision-making, we suspect they will ultimately be really useful, and Brogan’s idea is one example.

Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space posts about a provocative public art display in New Orleans: a huge chalk board with the prompt, “Before I die I want to” with a line for anyone to answer. We probably wouldn’t want to use this precise engagement invitation in a community planning process, but the idea is pretty cool and it’s easy to imagine a bunch of creative variations.

Digital Urban writes about an engagement experiment at the Grant Museum of Zoology using iPads, QR codes, and Twitter hash tags. It’s a museum context, but we get excited about any sort of tool, technology, or technique that may make for stronger, more effective community decision-making processes.

Development Seed describes TileMill, their new open source map design tool. Govfresh also blogged about it, explaining that the new tool “dramatically increases the accessibility of custom map generation for enterprise users, including the government.”

What did we miss?