Effective Localism

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Effective Localism: How can we use technology to increase people's level of engagement at the local (neighborhood, town, city) level?

The Open Planning Project (TOPP) is a sizable (~50 people) high-tech non-profit explicitly dedicated to encouraging and supporting civic engagement at the local level. This session will be a conversation about how technology can be used to support these ends, informed by TOPP's experiences in this domain (both successes and not-so-much) and by those of the session participants. We want people to take an active role in the stewardship of their own communities, how can we help them do so?

Session Notes

50 people, mostly in NY Open source tools for real world change Changing focus, tightening Engage people with what’s going in in their immediate environment Civic engagement at local level, engaging people in planning process Getting info from people, packaging

Uncivil Servants- abuse of parking permits (http://www.uncivilservants.org/) App that allowed people to upload pics of city permits with time/ date license Easy to use, understand 3-6 months and Bloomberg overhauled, lots of media attention

FAS Networks From Austria, working in Jordan on water plan Limits online Lots of people giving ideas online does not necessarily lead to change

Data Prose is hard data set to parse Firehose

Kittens Wars- Princeton Rate 2 kittens for cuteness Main campus issues, seed, add your own issues Top 10 concerns, 7 not seeded originally All Our Ideas (http://www.allourideas.org/) - open source

Santa Cruz (http://santacruz.uservoice.com/pages/18105-solutions-suggestions) User voice poll Ideas, rating 10 votes 10K users, worked for sorting through issues

Issue of representation online Mobile phone penetration Ushahidi example Different types of interactions

Toolkits for engagement Facilitation tools?

COSM The new town hall meeting? Smallerizing feedback loops, not just town hall meetings at milestones Prototyping

Chicago: Go To 2040 (http://www.goto2040.org/) Regional planning Meetings had blog posts Public comment shown live at meetings Public kiosks No formal system, mixed many channels of input

Observation; Process is huge People like to feel they’ve been heard

Young people find a way to get online, by any means necessary

James/ New Orleans National Geographic doc on worst high school in America Mapping their neighborhoods More people wanted to get involved School Climate system, application with survey Will drive advocacy system for schools Now looking to spur out to the rest of the country

Uptown Update blog (http://www.uptownupdate.com/) New residents can run over existing neighborhood orgs

How do we build engagement What does it look like How do we brige offline/ online

Gamelike feedback loops have higher participation/completion rates

Find groups with political capital

Creation of tools for mythical user results in lack of focus, lack of uptake

How do you find local stuff?

Local blogs Flyers Wiki page

We Love Longbeach (http://welovelb.org/) BBQs to build trust, not enough trust exists for policy impacts

Issue of intimate community knowledge being valuable and defended by political consultants, etc.

Long history of community organizing, before internet

Disruptive high tech things: Google Maps Smart phones /MMS

Where does $ come from? City comes to us now with RFPs because we’ve established our reputation as an organizer

MoveSmart.org neighborhoods of oppty and diversity