The Victorian Brumby Government just announced a $38 billion transport plan to revamp our state's dysfunctional and out-dated infrastructure network. How does this meet the needs of a growing population faced with the multi-dimensional challenges of peak oil, climate change and unprecedented water shortages? In Melbourne city the new Lord Mayor Robert Doyle is contemplating a move to re-open Swanston Street to traffic abandoning it's current status as a reasonably bike-friendly thoroughfare. This group welcomes your inspirational ideas to make Melbourne a clean green city that meets the needs of its wonderful mulitcultural, highly creative and awesome citizens. So let's get this party started!
The London-based Networked Neighbourhoods has released a set of extremely important studies on "the social impact of citizen-run online neighbourhood networks and the implications for local authorities."
This connects to the heart of the use of open government by the public - you need online public spaces where citizens in the context of governance (particularly with elected officials who can say, these are MY voters talking) are asking for information and generating new public opinion. These online spaces be they "community sites" or a dozen of the different technologies and approaches, are essential for everyday citizens to discuss government and broader community affairs. These exchanges generate general demand for and often specific requests for government information.
Also, from a DIY perspective, it is though these spaces that we see critical mass local adhocracy or coproduction opportunities emerge. (This what we see increasingly here http://e-democracy.org/nf at the neighborhood level.)
Very very in-depth - report links and my take on their work:
Included in the blog post above are updates on the proposed "Meet Your Neighbors Online Week" and the Neighborly nearest neighbors social networking idea.
I helped run a 2-week course at UTS in Sydney recently, on the Master of Digital Architecture ... working with Anthony Burke, Mitchell Whitelaw and Jason McDermott, plus the students on the course. More details here - http://www.cityofsound.com/blog/2008/11/the-street-as-p.html - and more to follow (which I'll post back here). A relatively successful attempt to create a real-time 'portrait' of a street, via sensors and data scraped off the web, then capable of being delivered back into that space.
But I'm interested in sharing information about other informatics projects, work and interested parties going on in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or elsewhere in Australia. Please post details or notes below, ta.