I was surfing the web this morning [as I usually do before trying to turn in `productivity mode`] and I jump into a very nice project of public engagement in New York City. They are always one step ahead..!
The project is called ChangebyUsNYC and, in the word of its creators, is “a place to share ideas, create projects, discover resources and make our city better”.
The aim of the project is to reinvent public participation and create practical ideas for the future development of NYC. The website has opened on the 7th of July 2011, and it is designed as a forum for ideas, with the glamour appearance of a college blackboard, where you can find whatever is possible, but you can also easily publish your personal ad, as post-it that pile one on each other. In the network it is possible to connect with neighbours and post notes on each other`s projects, but also start a project itself and receiving suggestion on expanding and concretising ideas.
The project reminds me of my former workplace, ToolboxOfficeTorino, in Turin where we had those amazing boxes covered in cork, that were just the shell for the pop meeting rooms.
And we used them as a message board between co-workers. Friends leave message on post-it for friends, people put invitation for parties or vernissage, and people leave a message to say that the coffee was ready in the kitchen. But you can also find working and help ads, or suggestion to improve the offices, and the managers of the place routinely check the message to see what was new. It helped creating the community, so helpful in a working space.
So I can image how useful it can be for a city. Talking of dimensions that are just a little less than immense, it is of course impossible to have a physical place for having a brainstorming place for ideas. So the web is of course our most powerful tool in order to engage people in a project and to connect them. And what I discovered is that people feel the need of connecting.
So the message is: Spread the world with your ideas! Don`t be shy!
See you! Ciao!