For our friends at MobileActive.org, the idea of using mobile technology to support social change among people and organizations around the world is nothing new. MobileActive.org has long been on a mission of connecting citizens; providing resources to NGOs that will enable them to enrich and serve their communities. Many may be surprised to learn that in today’s technologically advanced world, there are still roughly 5 billion global citizens without reliable internet access. However, as mobile phone usage continues to rise, resources like the MobileActive.org’s new Mobile Media Toolkit, may just be the answer these offline communities need to activate their public engagement efforts.
We recently learned of a cool new interactive mobile app designed to initiate the discovery of public spaces and their hidden potential for meaningful and fun exchanges between people and their cities. Revel turns sets of instructions, called challenges, into adventures and experiences that can be shared by friends or strangers. You can write your own challenges in any of Revel’s seven categories: Appreciation, Exploring, Fitness Traning, Games, Neighbors & Networks, Photography, and Storytelling. Players are simply encouraged to be creative with their interpretations of these fields! One main ground rule for the game: challenges have to take place in public space, such as a city street, sidewalk, or park.
As cities across the country add more bike lanes and introduce mentoring programs to easing congestion on the streets, and bike-sharing programs are popping up and becoming even more trendy in big cities like Austin, Miami, Philadelphia, Denver, Des Moines, and Washington, D.C., the debate over traffic laws and general etiquette heats up. The overall support of cycling programs in our country is strong, as many Americans understand the positive impacts to air quality, traffic congestion, etc. However, there is also somewhat of an unexpected ‘bikelash’ among some aggravated citizens when it comes to traditional ‘road rules’ vs. bicyclist courtesy and a cohesive safety standard for all commuters. Should all states operate as Oregon does, with its dedicated biker's section in the driver's manual, or Washington, with its statewide bike-route network? Should there be stricter laws enforcing bikers to stop at traffic lights just as drivers are required to?
There are many ways to leverage your project’s web and mobile presence in our ever innovative world of outreach and communications technologies. In our day to day dealings with clients, we teach businesses, including real estate companies, non-profits, local authorities, and government institutions how to reap the most benefit from today’s most popular social media services, including blogs, online communities, Facebook, Twitter, and more.
Local government is about the most diverse and complex business around. I take my hat off to any local government CEO – their Board is the elected council members and their shareholders are the community. They are answerable to the most diverse range of stakeholders including state government. At the forefront of their daily tasks are incredible pressures around the provision of housing, dealing with the impacts of climate change and population change, not to mention their important role in economic development, while the whole time keeping an eye on the issues of social cohesion. Oh, and local government plays a huge advocacy role in our communities.
So you’ve got something to say, but you’re not quite ready to pitch a tent and wait out the winter with Occupy Wall Street? Never fear: there are plenty of creative ways that you can make a statement and make change – from the comfort of your own community. You don’t need to commit weeks of your time to holding signs on a street corner; instead think about some easy, low-cost and low-effort ways of making a statement and starting a conversation. If you’ve got an issue or a challenge, look into these three great resources for taking them to your local streets.
This past summer in New York City, Nathan Maton, Dan Henry and Limor Schafman began to ponder the idea of creating a DCWEEK Street Games Fest after attending the Games for Change conferences. The creative trio realized that DC needed this kind of dynamic event combining fun, gameplay and exploring the city. Now that DCWEEK is upon us, organizers are in search of great games to bring this vision to life!
Open Government Initiative is a collaborative project which was established by a familiar group of passionate advocates of open government, including CityCamp, Colorado Smart Communities, Code for America, the Sunlight Foundation, OpenPlans, in late 2010. Guided by their commitment to transparency, participation and accessibility in government, the group has made significant progress in the movement to build the public’s trust and satisfaction by creating new opportunities for innovation. Recently, Open Government Initiative published their Candidate Open Government Pledge and Declaration of Open Government Principles, in an effort to make it easier for local governments to better implement open government policies. The sample templates, highlighted below, echo President Obama’s collective call for open government, in his address to the United Nations in September 2010.
Inspired by the National Building Museum’s Intelligent Cities initiative, the 24 Hour City Project encourages participants to explore the intersection of the built environment, data, the arts, and information technology. Criteria for projects submitted to the 24 Hour City Project were that they must have a physical and digital component. DCWEEK is approaching fast (Nov 4-11), and we recently discovered this project will be highlighted during the week-long technology festival. 24 Hour City Project five main goals begin with leveraging technology and data to reveal hidden relationships between our physical and digital worlds, and impact the way we interact with our environments and each other.
Inspired by Denver, Colorado’s downtown buildings and unique architecture, a group of school children, ages 8-11 years, from the local community came together this past summer to explore what it takes to build a real city. Metropolitan State College of Denver’s Art Department and the Denver Public School (DPS) district joined forces to offer students in the area a unique alternative to the typical sports and recreation type of summer camp through an new flagship art outreach program: Art Builds Communities (ABC).