­­My-Issue-Communities-Map.JPGNovember 25, 2008, New York - We received a positive response to our grant application to the Knight Foundation as follows:

“We have completed our review of your application to the Knight News Challenge for Issue-Communities. Congratulations! You have been selected to complete a full proposal.”

Over 2,000 submissions were sent to Knight for part of their hefty News Challenge Grant fund. Of those, 275 remain in contention. In previous years Knight issued about 10 grants, so our chances remain slim, particularly as many of the other submissions are quite good.

We’ve created  a wiki page describing the Issue-Communities concept. If you have any thoughts, send them our way. Knight will not be making a decision on this until the summer, giving others the chance to develop the Issue-Communities independently - with our best wishes - or to join us in making it happen.

Regrettably, there won’t be a public comment opportunity at the Knight website for the second round applications where we had hoped for additional comments on the concept. But our enhanced application (better organized, more details, and with answers to several additional questions) is available on our wiki - see our Issue-Communities page. Let us know what you think.

(Revised December 20, 2008.) (Commons photo courtesy of Geoffrey Rockwell.)  

Learn more about The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

MIT-Center-for-Future-Civic-Media.JPG­­New York, November 21, 2008 - MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media has selected Connecting.nyc Inc.’s “Campaign for .nyc” as a community partner project.

The Center for Future Media is a collaboration of the Media Lab and Comparative Media Studies. The Center defines civic media as “any form of communication that strengthens the social bonds within a community or creates a strong sense of civic engagement among its residents. Civic media goes beyond news gathering and reporting.”

We’re delighted to have this association with the Center. It promises to be another site where people can learn about our effort and make suggestions about .nyc’s role in creating a more livable city. And we’ll visit the Center often to learn from the civic media developments by the Center and our fellow partners. Visit us at the Center.

Learn more about The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Filed November 25th, 2008 under MIT, Partner, Civics, Education

­­money.jpg November 7, 2008, New York - The Columbia University Institute for Tele-Information sponsored a Play Theory Play Money seminar that attracted the city’s leading electronic game theorists and developers. The seminar’s goal was to explore ways the growing game industry might be attracted to, and cultivated, here in New York City.

I’ve been a proponent of using games to engage the public in the governance process since 2002 when Queens Community Board 3 opened its website to an apathetic public. The dark realization of how dull and tedious 99% of the public found local governance issues led me first to SecondLife’s virtual world and then other explorations of ways to make “governance as engaging as baseball” as I like to say.

At Play Money I presented 3 game related thoughts for the participants to ponder. First, I sought interest in developing a game that would use an environmental sustainability metaphor for selecting New York City’s important domain names. Dubbed Civic Hero, the premise is that certain civic domain names are vital to the city’s future, with some easily identified – gov.nyc, soho.nyc, mayor.nyc, schools.nyc – and others are more difficult, e.g., community events, monuments. Civic Hero imagines a game that makes uncovering these civic domain names into a contest. Two games were suggested for inspiration and example: MajorMinor which Michael Mandel designed to categorize songs, and Google Image Labeler which Luis von Ahn designed to label images.

I also proffered that virtual.nyc, a map of the city as accessible as SecondLife, but linked into real life sensors – video cameras, cell phones, RFIDs (where’s Orwell?) - is being discussed, and that such a virtual city will provide the foundation for games that cross pollinate the real and the virtual worlds. And I challenged participants to think of games that might be developed using virtual.nyc as their foundation.

Finally, I suggested that the  games.nyc domain name might provide a rallying point and  organizing force for the city’s games community and directed participants to a wiki page has been created to follow up on these possibilities.

Tom Lowenhaupt­

Learn more about The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Filed November 12th, 2008 under games, social network, Civics

­complaints.JPGNovember 2, 2008, New York - Last night we responded to a Knight Foundation request for proposals on ways to improve community communication. We responded with a proposal entitled Issue-Communities.

We’ve created  a wiki page describing the Issue-Communities concept and invite your thoughts. Should you find it  a reasonable idea, click on that page’s link to the Knight Foundation and indicate your level of approval - from 1 to 5 stars.

2,100 proposals were submitted and the Foundation is relying on user generated reviews - that’s you - to help make the cream rise to the top. An esteemed panel will pick the 50 top proposals which will be asked to detail their idea. But they can’t read all 2,100 submissions. So they need your help.

Our proposal ends with “We are entering an era when a comment such as, ‘I read about this travesty…’ will naturally be followed by ‘And what did you do about?’ With the assortment of tools available to address the issue, a response of ‘nothing’ will be unacceptable. Within an issue-community environment just bitching will become socially unacceptable.” 

There’s a $5,000,000 grant pool to be shared by the winners. See our Issue-Communities page. (Commons photo courtesy of Geoffrey Rockwell.)  

Learn more about The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Filed November 3rd, 2008 under Grant Application, Civics, Education