When Broken City Lab first surfaced as a self-described research group that “tactically disrupts and engages the city, its communities, and its infrastructure to reimagine the potential for action in a collapsing post-industrial city”, social media was their vehicle for change. Two years later this group of six, all under the age of 30, has gained national attention for their efforts towards finding creative and positive ways of interacting with their home city of Windsor, Ontario.
Broken City Lab draws upon graphic designers and communications experts within the group to maintain their comprehensive blog and social media outlets. Since its inception, Broken City Lab has built a vast database of information on the city including valuable feedback from the community at large. In the beginning, the urban revitalization group sought to inspire hope in their fellow citizens. The group relied heavily on technology, asking locals to send text messages, tweets, and emails containing ideas that were projected onto the side of a building in their “100 Ways to Save a City” campaign. The group later hosted “algorithmic adventures” where they asked people to follow a scavenger hunt around their neighborhood, taking specific pictures along the way. Broken City Lab then downloaded all the pictures and used them on their website to generate a body of research into certain communities around the city.
Most recently the 5 month long community outreach program Save Our City has come to fruition. With this latest initiative, Broken City Lab seeks to shed light on some of the very real problems facing their city. Of note is the Sites of Apology / Site of Hope social mapping project that is calling on citizens to help nominate forgotten areas of distress while recognizing those areas that still manage to instill a sense of civic pride. Once the data is gathered, the group will create a map locating all noteworthy sites. Their goal is to bring attention to and focus on preserving/healing areas that need to be looked after. Through pictures, etc. they hope to track the progress of these sites and encourage continued interest and investigation of these areas.
Learn more here: http://www.brokencitylab.org/about/