Attention all innovators, entrepreneurs, hackers, thinkers and people of open mind: the time has come to reinvent your city. Reinvent it not in the image of the city we are all familiar with, but as something altogether new: something intelligent, efficient and open, something livable and sustainable, something that not only works, but works better than we've ever imagined.
The time is now to do this. And who are the ones who will do it? We are - all of us. We are the ones with the tools, the innovative ideas, and the incentives to make our cities better in a million ways.
The shift is already beginning to happen, and every day it is going faster and faster.
And so now it is time for a new sort of city, a truly do-it-ourselves city to emerge.
So: shall we get started?
Hello DIYcity people, time for a quick update.
The big news with me this week is that I'm joining forces with innovation agency faberNovel, to head up their New York Operations. faberNovel is a group based in Paris, SF and Moscow (and now NYC) that does fantastic innovation work - conception, design and development of new ideas - for clients of all kinds. Much of their work is in city-oriented products and services: they build the apps for RATP, the company that runs the Paris subway and bus systems, they spearheaded one of the main responses to the RFP for Autolib, the Parisian car-sharing system, they open co-working spaces like pariSoma in SF. And much much more - there is a very long list of things they've done, which I wont go into here.
You can see my blog post about faberNovel and my new role here: http://bit.ly/mkRfDs
And you can see video of some of faberNovel's work at http://www.fabernovel.tv/ .
So what does this mean for me, what does it mean for you, and what does this mean for DIYcity?
For me it means that I'm going to get to focus on a lot of city challenges that I love to focus on, but with a lot more resources behind me than I've had in the past. This is going to be great. faberNovel seems like the perfect partner for me to continue to push ideas about cities and tech forward and make an impact, and I'm really excited to dig in.
For you it means... well, that depends on who you are exactly. But if you work in any kind of city organization (anywhere - not just in NYC) that is looking for innovative solutions to challenges (or even if you work in a non-city organization) then we should talk - there may be opportunities for us to work together on a different level than we have in the past with DIYcity. And that would be super.
And for DIYcity? Well, the interesting thing is that starting to work with faberNovel may actually allow me to push DIYcity forward more than I have in the past year. The two things feel very well aligned in such a way that putting a bit of energy into DIYcity may benefit my work with faberNovel, and vice versa. That's the kind of synergy that has been missing from DIYcity for me for a long time. So I'm interested to see where that goes.
And I'm interested in maximizing the synergy, for me and for you.
So - me, you, faberNovel and DIYcity. Should be interesting. Let's see just how interesting we can make it.
More to come, as always. If you're interested in hearing more about faberNovel, I'd love to talk - write me at john at johngeraci.com.
p.s. we came in second place for the FutureEverything award this year. That's not bad considering we were up against a project funded by the Knight Foundation and now part of Zynga (Macon Money, the project that won - kudos to them). I think with a tiny bit of focus and intent, we could win prizes like that in the future. It was a great opportunity regardless and I'm happy to have gotten as far as we did...
This week the FutureEverything Festival is being held in Manchester, UK. DIYcity has been selected as one of three finalists in the competition for the 2011 FutureEverything Award. The award is given every year for "outstanding achievement for innovation in art, society & technology" and for projects that "help to bring the future into the present."
While the festival's organizers have made me promise to keep quiet about whether or not DIYcity won the £10,000 first place prize until Thursday, they didn't say anything about not posting the video we made for the festival here before then. So here it is.
I think it shows the essence of DIYcity very well.
Tell me what you think.
p.s. I don't know how the video will format on this build of Drupal, so here's a youtube link, just in case it botches it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY9BQhaqKlI
We are organizing two workshops at Eyebeam this Saturday and next. Here is a bit of info and for more info (and to buy tickets to cover our costs...) go to http://eyebeam.org/events/march-workshops-with-the-counter-kitchen
Two “Buttery Smooth” Workshops in The Counter Kitchen in March!
Brooke Singer and Stefani Bardin of the The Counter Kitchen welcome two special guests on March 12 and 19. Join them in the kitchen and learn how to reverse-engineer your favorite food and personal care products. Become a translator, detective, chemist, and cook as you help them decode and remake Johnson & Johnson® Baby Lotion and Breyers® Ice Cream. Mmm, buttery and smooth. Each workshop costs $10 per person, which includes admission, tastes, take-aways, and recipes.
TCK’s "Devotion to Lotion" Workshop
Rachel Winard, creator and chef of Soapwalla Kitchen, turns Johnson and Johnson® Baby Lotion upside-down and inside-out on March 12, 2-4PM. She will tell us about the 22+ ingredients listed on the bottle and reveal fun facts (like the sources of the "fresh baby bottom" smell and the signature pink color). Then she will lead us through a step-by-step recreation, shedding more than a few ingredients along the way.
TCK’s "I Scream" Workshop
Mike Lee, founder of the New York underground supper club Studiofeast, will turn our attention to commercially produced ice cream and continue the "Buttery and Smooth" theme on March 19, 12-2PM. Using his culinary skills and scientific prowess with cryogenic fluids, Mike will help us uncover questionable ingredients in Breyers® Ice Cream and then show us a spectrum of possibilities for creating our own ice creams.
Hello again everyone in the DIYcity community! Just a short note to say that DIYcity is one of three projects in the final round for the 2011 FutureEverything award.
FutureEverything.org explains it like so:
The Award recognises outstanding achievement for innovation in art, society & technology. It celebrates creative projects in any medium that offer a new and unique way to experience or see the world and help to bring the future into the present.
Voting on the final round is open to those who have participated in the festival in the past - as speakers, participants and delegates. If you're a part of the FutureEverything community, please go to the site and vote for us. We promise to do something big, fun and great with the award.
You can read more about it (and vote if you can) here: http://futureeverything.org/award/
Hi everyone at DIYcity! Thought it was time to check in here, after a while of silence. Here's a quick update on some things, on the site and in the space in general:
• Though new posts to the site have been few lately, traffic at DIYcity is going up-up-up. Up 20% this month over last month alone. And last month was up 20% over the month before. (If this was a startup, those would be the kinds of numbers that would make investors happy). Not sure why that could be, except that maybe civic reinvention is getting to be a hotter and hotter topic all the time. If that's so, then it's probably due to everyone on this list and all of the work you're doing - so congrats on that.
• There is a big, exciting un-conference coming up in a few weeks, called TransportationCamp. Put on by OpenPlans and Rockefeller Foundation, it is a free, weekend-long event where attendees will drill down on ideas for ways to make transportation work better. There is going to be one event in NYC and one in SF, held on different weekends. You should all sign up and come. (And I mean it - every one of you!) I'm an advisor, and I will be at the NYC event. Should be fun.
• For those of you in NYC, there is an OpenNY meeting tomorrow night (Feb 16) that is going to include discussions on Code for America, the Thai Open Govt Initiative and the National Building Museum's Intelligent Cities initiative. This looks like fun - check it out if you have the time.
• Lastly, true to my word I have been blogging a fair bit over on johngeraci.com, and here are a few recent posts that might interest people at DIYcity:
Actually come to think of it, all of the posts are really pretty applicable to DIYcity, but I'll stop there.
Okay, that's all for now. Might have some news for people in a bit. Or... might not.
Either way, more to come.
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.
Hi all - tt's been a few weeks since I've gotten around to posting at DIYcity, so I wanted to give a quick update.
One reason I've been posting less to DIYcity is that I started a blog on johngeraci.com (check it out here). I did this b/c I was getting the urge to write about things on DIYcity that weren't totally appropriate to the focus of this space. DIYcity has never been a ponderous place - it's always been a place for action, for building, and for discussion about these things. In the past few months I'd gotten away from that and wanted to restore that feeling here. So from now on, my thinky posts go on my blog, and DIYcity is for building, and talking about building. That means less content here but more focus and direction. I think that will be a good thing in the long run.
Next: the idea for the Apps for Everywhere contest continues to mature and take shape. It's making a lot more sense now, and we've got a few groups behind the scenes expressing interest in helping out in various ways. So that is looking increasingly do-able, interesting and valuable. I think we'll probably make a call on whether or not to green-light it over the holidays, and get on it quickly if it's a go.
Join the Apps for Everywhere Google Group if you want to chime in on the discussion that is giving shape to the idea.
Lastly, I wanted to call people's attention to a good post by dpk the other day about accessibility to police information in Milwaukee. It raises some questions that would be great to get into in more depth in a broader context at some point. Dpk posted it to Milwaukee, so I wanted to call others' attention to it as well.
That's all for now. The last few weeks of 2010 will be quiet here as I'll be up in Montreal (if anyone reading lives up there, get in touch with me, maybe we can get coffee and discuss the road ahead for DIY cities.)
More to come, as always...
When Bradley Tech, a troubled Milwaukee public high school, had to be locked down and receive massive police support to stop a fight involving gang members and kids from other schools, the most important issue is not about the school, the 18 arrests, the gangs, the fight, or the police response. It's about having no public information about the incident, which occurred on Nov. 30, until a statement was dragged out of the police department a week later, as rumors and questioned reached the press and political leaders.
Similar patterns of significant crimes that only come to light weeks after the fact have occurred since the Milwaukee Police Department's encrypted radio system, OpenSky, went into full production use early in 2010. The problem is that, post-OpenSky, MPD has left no way for the media or anyone else to follow what squads are doing, within reasonable parameters, as used to be the case. Going from police scanners to nearly nothing was a major disruption to public information access and crucial information flows in and outside of the city government.
Now, when a major incident fails to attract immediate media notice and no MPD statement is forthcoming, victims, witnesses or second and third-hand sources tend to generate inquiries and exposes a week or two later, when the media and politicians get involved. This has become a repetitive and counterproductive cycle for the entire metropolitan community.
There are technological solutions possible, but none have been proposed until today, when MPD suggested that the 911 dispatch webpage with brief call type summaries on the MPD website is all the press needs. Is it really MPD's position that this is all the press needs?
In other words, does a line of text that says "fight" with a location given like "4th and Bruce" do the job? This line of text appears only for a brief period of time and is not retrievable later. It appears somewhere within 5 screens of similar summaries. Is this really adequate public notice? Are journalists supposed to refresh their browsers all day watching these pages, instead of expecting a statement from MPS or MPD when many squads are called to stop a fight in a school and make arrests? On numerous occasions, the entire dispatch page has gone offline without warning, sometimes over long holiday weekends.
MPD claims that "All dispatched calls for police service are posted, with a 30-minute delay, on the Milwaukee Police Department Website under the Dispatched Calls for Police Service Tab." In fact the dispatch page itself actually says the calls are those made by 911 dispatch operators and the delay is 30-90 minutes. Previously it has been stated by MPD that some calls may be withheld longer in special cases, and 911 dispatch operators are not the only source of calls for service. Squads can be sent to locations by non-emergency operators and probably other channels, so it's unclear what is and is not being shown.
In the specific case of Bradley Tech on the 30th, was a 911 call made? Was a 911 call made that resulted in a dispatch? If a code red or lockdown is issued by a school, does this involve dispatch logs that go on the MPD website?
A national crime-mapping website, SpotCrime.com, harvests all data it is able to collect from MPD's dispatch page and has no entries pertaining to Bradley Tech for the 30th. Usually it is a reliable, permanent record of what has been posted by MPD, but even it is a very limited solution to the void of timely information about police activity.
This was first posted at the RJI News Collaboratory.Unfortunately, when I first asked these questions (in shorter form) on MPD's Facebook page, they were deleted. The situation has reached a point where I think there is motivation now to independently create applications to provide the data and accessibility needed to really function in the public interest. I am interested in hearing from anyone who is aware of similar situations in other cities, and how they were dealt with.
You can now check on subway updates by sending "txtnyc" (space) "subup" to 368-638. There is no need for any kind of registration or fancy-phone.
They are the most recent updates I'm aware of (test it yourself, I have) and the fastest/most convenient way to access it.