The first meeting of DIYcity San Francisco took place Wednesday January 14, 2009 at PariSoMa coworking space.
It was an exciting meetup; we introduced the core concepts behind DIYcity and went over a series of earlier "city hacks" that exemplify that sort of clever, fun bits of grassroots urban innovation that we aim to build upon and to empower others to build upon. About 35 people participated; most folks were somehow involved in the tech industry but we also had academics, an architect, and even founders of the most "DIY" city ever, Burning Man!
Notes from the meeting are here on the wiki; if you attended and would like to add to this or submit your own notes, please dig in:
Stay tuned; will be growing out the wiki in the coming weeks with a list of ideas for projects we can build out, a list of challenges to pursue, and a list of strong earlier "city hacks" to learn from.
It struck me several days ago that a valuable exercise for DIYcity at this stage might be to try to map out the possible issues we could address, correlated with the different tactics at our disposal for addressing them.
By doing this, we could begin to create a "universe of possibilities" for DIYcity, as well as start to see where the low-hanging fruit is for first efforts.
To get started, everyone at the NYC meetup on Wednesday night answered two questions:
- What are some issues in NYC that DIYcity might be able to address?
- What are the tools at our disposal for addressing these issues?
What we came up with was by no means an exhaustive list, but it was a tiny first step towards building that map. Or at least it was a good document for starting a conversation about that map.
See notes on the answers people gave to those questions on the DIYcity wiki.
If you correlated the items in the first list with items in the second list (as we did in a very limited fashion on Wed), you would start to see a map emerge of possibilities for DIYcity - at least as they relate to New York City, and at least as they relate to this very minute, with our limited grasp of the idea of a DIYcity.
The next step then would be to pick the low-hanging fruit and develop some apps based on those things -- which is where we should consider going next.
One thing that came out of last night's meetup in NYC was the agreement that there should be a set of common tags by which everyone can flag content around the web that relates to DIYcity.
Good idea, of course.
So from now on, if you are tagging something up in delicious, or flickr, or whatever you use, and it relates to DIYcity, tag it with 'diycity'. If you're marking up a Twitter tweet, use the hashtag #diycity.
And if it relates specifically to DIY NYC, mark it as diynyc. If it relates to DIY Melbourne, mark it as diymelbourne. Etc etc etc.
In that way, DIYcity can start to escape the confines of the website.
The MetLife Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation are partnering for the eighth year to recognize, sustain, and share the work of innovative partnerships between community groups and police that promote neighborhood safety and revitalization.
Awardees will receive cash grants ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 each. Case studies about award-winning partnerships will be disseminated throughout the community development and law enforcement industries. Previous winners have used award money to pay for special patrols, trainings, and equipment for officers.
Grants will be awarded in two categories. Neighborhood Revitalization Awards (six grants of $15,000 to $25,000 each) celebrate exemplary collaboration between community groups and police that result in crime reduction as well as economic development activity, including real estate development, business attraction, and job growth. Special Strategy Awards (six awards of $15,000 each) will be given to community and police partners that have achieved significant accomplishments in applied technology, aesthetics and greenspace improvement, diversity, inclusion and integration, drug market disruption, gang prevention and youth safety, or seniors and safety.
Further information and a link to the full Request for Proposals is available at the LISC Web site.
Thanks to all who came out last night to the first DIYcity meetup in NYC. It was a huge success, esp for a first meetup. Attendance was high, people seemed very smart about the subject, and everyone came prepared to participate.
We focused the evening on building out a general framework for DIYcity in New York, something we could then continue build on in the future. Discussion topics included:
- What does DIYcity mean anyway? What are the common elements that identify a service, tool, etc as being a DIYcity thing?
- What are the possibilities for DIYcity applications? What it is possible to do with this approach to city systems?
- What are some specific things we could do in NYC to address issues in the city in a DIYcity way?
- Where to start with these ideas? What's next?
I will post notes from the meeting to the new wiki (thanks Sean) when I get them. Hopefully they can form a basis for future conversations.
Very interested to hear a report from SF on how the meetup went there...
Disasters really are the ultimate DIY setting - stakes are high, centralized solutions are often insufficient, overwhelmed or disabled, and volunteers and donors are everywhere. Often you'll see new communications tools and practices go through major transformations - Americans didnt initially take to cell phones as fast as the rest of the world, but that all changed after 9/11.
I spent a lot of time studying the role of communications in disasters a few years ago when I was doing research at NYU's Center for Catastrophe Preparedness. I wrote a report, which I think is still a useful reference
"Telecommunications Infrastructure in Disasters: Preparing Cities for Crisis Communications"
Some other examples:
Sahana - http://www.sahana.lk/node/12 - general purpose open source disaster response toolkit
KatrinaList - http://discovermagazine.com/2005/dec/emerging-technology - good article by outside.in founder Stephen Johnson on how the Katrina victim and refugee lists were coordinated using Web 2.0
What other kinds of problems could DIY disaster response solve?
One thing that occurs is that none of these are particularly mobile friendly frameworks. There are loads of SMS alerting schemes out there, but most are top-down, intended to be used by authorities to alert large groups of residents. Are there any p2p disaster messaging platforms out there?
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.
The DIYcity Wiki is now up and running at diycity.org/wiki. Dig in and add to the conversation!
Welcome to the DIY LA group!
What are the most pressing issues in LA that we want to address?
What is your vision for the transformation of LA?
What would like you like to talk about?
This is your group, so let's get some conversations started!
From Matt Lane on the Open Government Group
I have recently put up a post on *In Development* called "When State servants use social media":
It links to our draft guidance on "Social media monitoring and interaction" for New Zealand government agencies and State servants which is open for comment.