A promising idea or bonkers? More at an SCA wiki page
(Sorry about the ads, signed in users get an ad free version) or in brief at we20
we20 Nesta Challenge
A we20 unconference 3 days before the G20 London Summit.
Have booked a place to organise a breakout group to discuss Open national and local carbon accounts
If you sign in to the main site please consider voting for this plan.
Remaining (free) tickets via Eventbrite
we migrated the site to a new server over the weekend, and now you should be able to post messages without seeing the white screen of death. which means nobody will be re-posting their messages thinking the original didn't go through, which means you wont be receiving 4x of the same email in your inbox each time someone posts something to discussions.
so feel secure in your posts to DIYcity - they will get to their audience, and you wont be annoying people with accidental reposts.
I wanted to circle back around on the Taxi Share idea that was discussed here a while back. If we could make something that worked, it would be really worthwhile, and also pretty damn cool.
I was thinking about how to do it, and it seems to me you'd just need a system that:
1. knows where you are or can make sense of you telling it where you are
2. knows who your friends are, and who their friends are, etc., outward x degrees
3. knows where those people are, if they've checked in lately
4. assumes you're using the system to share a taxi ride
And then lets the users take care of the rest.
Once you have this, you also have a generic framework for pairing any two co-located people around any common interest. So you could abstract this and apply it to all sorts of things. Would be very useful for facilitating a variety of sharing-type actions throughout cities.
This kind of seems like a generic, open version of foursquare. But I'm wondering - could you cobble it together using a variety of the standard tools, twitter, facebook, etc? Could you make it something that people could use without having to sign up for, because they've already signed up for all of those other things? E.g. "Direct message this service and we'll reply with someone who wants to share a taxi ride."
Any thoughts here? Anyone want to take this and run with it, or else tell me this is half baked? (Actually, it is half-baked and I'm counting on someone else to bake it fully for me...)
It suddenly feels like we've come a long way with DIYcity in a pretty short time - we've launched a few apps that are getting a lot of attention around the web, the site itself and the idea behind it is starting to catch people's ear, and our numbers continue to grow.
I feel like there could be a DIYcity tipping point approaching somewhere in the not-too-distant future.
This week, though, rather than focusing on that, I'm feeling a need to try to consolidate what we've done so far. SickCity and DIYtraffic are close to being actual, useful tools, ready for adoption and use by cities. We've also got a lot of ideas hanging half-finished on the site that I would love to see pushed farther. I've seen now how much traction these ideas have when they're presented right, and I think we've got several ideas ripe for that kind of thing.
So this week, rather than launching into a new round of Challenges, I personally want to focus on making what we already have better.
If anyone wants to help out on that in any way, drop a note. I'll also start these up in Discussions, so you can jump in if you want.
Here's what I want to work on this week:
- improving SickCity, making it more accurate, testing it against real health data for cities
- improving DIYtraffic: giving it a front-end, adding new data sources, making it easier for people to set it up in their city
- getting a Taxi Share app started: I think this idea is ripe, and I have an idea or two on how it could happen. will post more on that in Discussions.
- getting a Rideshare app spec'd out. a couple people have written to me and are interested in seeing this happen. would love to figure out what this app should be.
And of course anyone else is free to propose anything they want in the Discussions group, as I see is already happening. Love to see that!
HeavyMeta, you blocked comments on your posts, or i would have put this there.... i know its obviously the most appropriate venue,.... this was second best
regarding your post, "thingfinding application", i think its a great idea... check out http://ourfaves.com/ as a model... its a great site, but underutilized.... maybe a good starting point to work from.
I encountered a formulation of "thingfinding" (http://is.gd/ozjk) today and it got me thinking that this could be the basis of a fairly easy-to-make and really awesome DIYCity application. Could we begin to build a ground-up database of things in the city?
I'm imagining a smartphone app that just allows you to take a picture of something, say what it is, and then it gets entered with location data into a database. Perhaps it would also allow for some additional metadata to contribute to its description.
Eventually, everything people care enough about to submit might go in here. Everything from favorite types of shampoo to the Brooklyn Bridge. It would be the beginning of a kind of location-based catalog of the stuff that exists in the city. Eventually, you would be able to query it and find the closest place to buy that shampoo, or in a broader way to find anything else you needed or were looking for.
Maybe it could just start as a database of people's favorite things, and see where it goes from there. I'd be happy to help out on this if anyone is interested in developing the concept/application.
WMATA just announced the availability of its schedule and route information on its website:
Why? Because the costs of public health mandate it. Costs of basic health services are already too high, never mind adding new services to the mix. Meanwhile, mining data that is out on the web, ready to be mined, is so cheap as to be essentially free (it has cost us no money so far to build SickCity, just a few dollars out of pocket).
So, in order to grow, become better, and not break the government bank, public health will need to start considering smart, cost-effective alternatives for services, and they will eventually look to using openly accessible data, data of all sorts - including social network data.
The SickCity team, btw, now has a statistician on board, looking over the algorithm to see how we can make the service more accurate. Version 1 works well in a very rough sense - how well can we make version 2 work, with someone who actually knows this stuff?
DIYcity started off in October 2008 as a simple online community where people could talk about ways that they could use technology to make their cities work better. The idea was to get people talking about this together, trade ideas, discover best practices, and help stimulate change.
I think we have already succeeded in doing that, in a few short months.
But along the way, a bigger idea began to emerge. It has been implicit on the site for a while, but I've never actually spelled it out anywhere. I felt like I should do that now.
So, here now, as I see it, is the big challenge for DIYcity, the question we're all, aware or unaware, working on together:
Can we, collectively, come up with a complete set of tools that ordinary people everywhere can plug into to make their cities work better? Can we create, effectively, a version 1.0 of an operating system for a new, user-operated city? A city where information is open and flows easily from government offices to residents, from residents back to government, and from residents to other residents, to create a tight-knit information ecology that improves life in cities for all?
And can we, rather than talking about it, actually spur that transformation to happen within cities?
I want people to be able to come to DIYcity, look through an index of (open source) applications, find the ones that are set up for their city and use them, or else set them up for their city if they aren't configured yet. One person should be able to come to the site, and with a little bit of energy activate a whole new service for his or her city.
That is the Do-It-Yourself City. That's what we're working towards.
How we get there exactly is less important to me than that we get there. Challenges, Discussions, whatever, are just tactics for the big goal, of assembling, or pointing to, this collection of tools that people can plug into anywhere to make their cities work, with or without the help of their local government.
And hopefully the local governments will get on board with this movement. I think they will, personally. I think they will have to, actually (that's a separate post). But a central idea of DIYcity is that we shouldn't wait around for the governments to give us tools for our cities. We can, and should, go out and build them ourselves, and let the governments get involved when they're ready.
That's where I see us going on DIYcity at this point, the Big Picture. Can we do this?
Some of the people who have worked on DIYcity projects so far have proposed a set of loose design principles for building DIYcity apps.
These are not hard, fast rules for building things with DIYcity, but are rather guidelines for helping developers think about how DIYcity-type applications should be built.
These guidelines are now online at http://diycity.org/diycity-design-principles
Please check them out! Comments and suggestions welcome.