• Issue-Communities

last modified June 21, 2011 by tomlowenhaupt

Using mapping software and social networking tools, Issue-Communities will empower city residents to create narrow communities of interest, "Issue-Communities," reflecting their concerns. While borderline in terms of Connecting.nyc Inc.'s mission, they offer great promise for civic improvement and could piggyback on the .nyc TLDs introduction. This page introduces the concept.


So what did you do about it?

  complaints.JPG

 ( Commons photo courtesy of Geoffrey Rockwell.)

 

 Jenny's Hammer
­­­­­   ( From Idealist.org )  
The Jenny's Hammer Project supports the creation of the digital tool chest for the Issue-Communities.

Every Issue-Community communique sent (email, blog, or map plot) will arrive with links to digital activation tools: social networking, organizing and decision support, calendars, polls, reports from similar areas, resource links...

Every communique will create a civic activation space for these tools and every communique will connect Jenny to others who share your concerns within the issue-community.

The totality of these digital tools are "Jenny's Hammer."

What are the features of Jenny's Hammer and how do we create them?

  • Facebook-like social networking tools
  • Wikis
  • Blogs
  • Listserves
  • Calendars
  • GIS
  • "How To" guides on community organizing 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 





... 

The Internet will undergo a major reorientation in 2013 as city Top Level Domains, or TLDs, are issued for the first time. Here in New York City, Connecting.nyc Inc. is leading a campaign to acquire and develop the .nyc TLD as a public interest resource. (Think .com or .org but just for New York City.) ­At the same time, our newspapers are losing revenue and firing reporters. What will replace the information and oversight roles formerly provided by newspapers? How can we create a more civically engaging city, one that's governed by a more sophisticated process than the latest catastrophe?

Connecting.nyc Inc. submitted a grant proposal to the Knight Foundation in November 2008 outlining how Issue-Communities can partially fill the the information gap being left by this especially effective arm of the Fourth Estate. The proposal proffers that the creation of Issue-Communities will coincide with, and be enhanced by, Connecting.nyc Inc.'s introduction of the .nyc TLD and the transition to a more locally oriented Internet­. One additional element to be considered is the relationship Issue-Communities have with traditional media.

We submitted our Round 2 proposal to Knight on November 30, 2008. See our submission here.

The Basics

Using GIS technology (mapping software) and social networking tools, Issue-Communities will empower city residents to create narrow communities of interest - "Issue-Communities" - reflecting their concerns. These Issue-Communities can address longstanding local communications deficits and serve as organizing machines to address local concerns and opportunities.

To grasp the possibilities, let's follow New Yorker "Jenny" as she creates her Issue-Communities:

   1. Going to the Issue-Communities.nyc website, Jen­ny will select from a list of traditional community issues - security, noise, sanitation, traffic, park maintenance, etc. My-Issue-Communities-Map.JPG­­

   2. Then, using GIS, Jenny will draw maps of geographic areas that reflect her concerns for those issues. For example, for "parks" Jenny's concerns are for her local Travers Park, and Van Cortland Park where she occasionally exercises. So Jenny will stretch a line around Travers and another around Van Cortland Park. Her sanitation map is the street in front of her building and the route she follows to the subway. Her noise map extends 300 feet from her home. Her security map extends 500 meters around herhome, and to her parks, to her route to the subway, and includes her neighborhood shopping district.

   3. For each of these "Issue-Communities" Jenny will then select from several levels of engagement. For example, on security she will be presented with check-off boxes offering services such as:

         a. Email crime reports as soon as they become available & post them to my crime map.
         b. I want to be invited to meetings on security in my security Issue-Community.
         c. I'll start a community security discussion group if four other people will join me.
         d. Put me in touch with others with similar interests in my security Issue-community.

Similar queries would prompt Jenny on each of her other Issue-communities.

Messages with Hammers

As Jenny draws her own Issue-Community's boundaries using the GIS tool, she will finely filter communiques (email or blog posts) heading her way. Too much email or changed circumstances and she'll refine the borders of her security Issue-Community.

Jenny and her fellow Issue-Community members will receive a combination of official and resident generated content on their specific community issues. (Extant publishers or budding news organizations might find a role here.) Every communique, be it email, blog post, or map plot will:

  • be relevant,
  • be an invitation to act,
  • arrive with activation tools: social networking, organizing and decision support, calendars, polls, reports from similar areas, resource links...
  • create a civic activation space (a website) for using these tools, and
  • every communique will connect Jenny to others who share her concerns within the issue-community.

The totality of these digital tools are referred to "Jenny's Hammer" in the sidebar.

­

The End of Bitching

During the Issue-Community era you won't just read information. If the email or post makes your blood boil, the tools will be at hand to make you part of the story - to respond to a poll, to send an email, to set up a meeting, to connect with your neighbors, to organize and make change happen. Each communique will empower its recipient to send a simple thought or to start a revolution.

We are entering an era when a comment such as "I read today 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 the new Issue-Community environment just bitching will become socially unacceptable.

Project Status

In round 3 of the review process we were notified that we were not a winner of the 2009 Knight Award. We resubmitted for 2010 are advanced to Round 2. See Issue-Communities 2010.

Take a look at SeeClickFix for a project that has the mapping element similar to that which this project suggests.

Issue-Communities - The Mobile Version

At Games for Change 2011 a, Issue-Communities-like game was introduced. See it here.

DNS & Issue Communities

Where within the .nyc TLD will Issue Communities exist?

Key .nyc Pages