DIY Minneapolis/St. Paul is a forum for Minneapolitans and St. Paulites to share ideas and develop viable solutions to the problems our Cities face. It's founded on the notion that we don't have to wait for someone to do the job for us - anyone can develop an innovative program and change the way we live for the better.
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.
In the vein of Do-It-Yourself projects and community improvement, I think that the workshop series we are starting at the Green Institute will be great in educating homeowners and businesses about simple and practical ways to save energy.
Coming up we have:
REUSE-ENERGY WORKSHOP ON WINDOW REHABBING ON MARCH 4!
This workshop will help homeowners choose the right option for improving the performance of their windows. Window restoration specialist Paul Schmidt of Twin Cities-based Restoration Window Systems will cover temporary or permanent fixes to reduce heat loss and air infiltration on existing windows, reversing the effects of deterioration on historic wood windows and making an appropriate window replacement. Mark your calendars for Thursday, March 4 from 6:30 - 8 PM at 2801 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis. RSVP to Agatha Vaaler (firstname.lastname@example.org 612.278.7142 ). Cost is $15, which can be paid at the door or in advance. Refreshments will be provided.
Hope you check it out!
I've been watching the discussion trying to figure out the DIY City's wavelength.
I think part of what we see emerging on the local (neighborhood) Issues Forums hosted by E-Democracy.Org fit your model of citizen problem-solving. My experience is that at the very very very local level people will pick shovels and do stuff, while up the chain people prefer their tax dollars to do the work so they don't have to be bothered.
On my local neighborhood Issues Forum - http://e-democracy.org/se - we've had people start community garden efforts, ask if people want to do a blood drive and then promote it, suggest and then organize a volunteer lake clean-up (only to run into trouble getting connected to the right person in the parks department for permission), buy flower bulbs in bulk for their homes with some left over for public space, etc. Recently, a mugging at a new local light rail stop generated a flurry of activity: http://blog.e-democracy.org/posts/355
Anyway, since a number of you will be at Participation Camp, I thought I should say hello. If any of you would like to talk neighborhoods online to gather tips from 15 years on the front lines of e-participation, check out the two sessions I'll be leading or virtually note - http://e-democracy.org/if - for an existing Webinar and some links here: http://pages.e-democracy.org/Social_media_in_local_public_life
The possibilities of this forum are practically limitless - so let's start exploring them! While we haven't had a physical meet up (yet) this space can be a starting point for Twin Cities specific DIY ideas. Please, respond to this thread with
-what the ideal DIY TC would look like
-urgent (TC specific) issues you want to tackle with DIY tech
-next steps in addressing those issues
Also: how can we spread the news about this project? Like any forum, it depends on a quantity of quality contributors - spread the word!