The first DIYcity SF meetup is a week away.
I expect much of this first event to be devoted to carving out what our goals are and how to tackle them.
We've been talking about three potential formats/directions to aim for with DIYcity SF meetups. What do you think? Which works best for you? Do you have other suggestions?
1- Open Foo- / Bar- camp style – The space is divided into a couple of presentation areas; anyone who wants to present signs up for a slot and describes their topic on a board up front; people read the board and attend the presentations/discussions they're most passionate about.
2– Devote the meetings to presentations of best practices and ideas. Each session will include 1-3 speakers who will present successful projects they're working on, or have completed, that fit into the DIYcity realm; or just demonstrating great things they admire that others have built and that we can learn from. After the presentations we can mingle with the speakers and one another to exchange contacts and ideas and to form new working teams.
3– Devote the meetings to brainstorming and defining. Each session would be devoted to a particular subject (a specific problem, neighborhood, technology, etc.) and we'd meet up to brainstorm ideas to improve life in the city along the lines of the theme. Participants would form teams that will build out the ideas after the meeting.
4– Devote meetings to building. Go into each session with at least a rough specification of a tool/service/solution/space that we've already defined, and build it out.
Chime in and let me know which of these directions (if any) you'd like to lean towards and that will help define our first meetup.
Thanks and happy new year
An email I got today:
I am intrigued by the interview on Smart City today (NPR radio). I'd like to help get this small sw Georgia town into improving a few things, but your technological suggestions don't seem to mesh with the level of computer use here. I'm stunned by how many people don't even use email for any reason at all, and are resistant to the idea.
Do you know a similar site that offers hands-on suggestions, rather than technology? Or do you plan increasing your work in that direction. I realize it's a new site still, and hands-on might be a totally different way that you don't want to explore.
Does anyone know what the status is on an api from the NY MTA? Thought there was some discussion here a while back about that being forthcoming.
When you submit a new thread to DIYcity right now, you will see a bunch of mysql errors on the submit page.
We've been trying to resolve the issue, but it actually lies with our webhosts - they are timing out the servers too quickly for the full database insert to occur, and this is a host-wide problem.
Just submit your post once.
Regardless of the error message, your post DID go through. You don't need to resubmit.
Will keep trying to fix it, but the only solution seems to be to switch hosting companies.
What shall we discuss at the first DIYcity meetup in NYC?
Ideas that come to my mind include:
- what is the field of possibilities for DIY-type "collaborative infrastructure" in cities? in other words, what should be possible to accomplish by applying web tools to city infrastructure?
- what would the ideal DIY city look like? how would it operate?
- what is a DIY city, anyway?
- what are some of the most pressing issues for NYC, and how can we address them with a DIY approach?
- hey, what's your name?
- what are the next steps?
just some suggestions. if anyone else wants to throw anything out, I'm all ears...
The first DIYcity meetup in New York is next Wednesday at 6 PM. The room we're having it in, at TOPP, has a max of 45 people. If you want to come, be sure to RSVP early to guarantee a spot.
So it's been two months now since DIYcity started, and in that time I feel like the organization has grown so much that it has quickly outgrown the site, and even the original idea. And that's great, though it has been a bit hard to keep up at times.
When we first launched at the end of October, issuing weekly Challenges seemed like the way to go - get everyone pumped up about an idea, get them to build something, get them to submit it, and presto, you've got applications for people to use that make cities better. Seemed like a perfect vehicle for making change in cities.
The problem with this was it encouraged people to work on their own, and submit on their own. There was no group learning involved in the process, no growth, no improvement. It also presupposed that concepts were ready for building without being fully fleshed out and vetted -- and fleshing out and vetting have turned out to be critical steps in this whole process.
So Discussions seemed like a good remedy to that problem: something to get people to work together, think together, maybe even build together. And that worked really well. People have added a lot of intelligent insight to conversations on a variety of things, and it seems like we're collectively closer to great tools for making cities everywhere more effective.
But Discussions only worked up to a point - they got people talking, throwing ideas together, making them better. But nothing actually got built. And the whole point of DIYcity is to build things, get things out in the world, create change, make things better. Discussions got to a point where I personally felt it was futile to keep participating in new threads until old threads produced some tangible results. It was like we had created a backlog of product to build.
And that's where we are now.
So where do we go from here?
Well, out of all of this I now have a great idea for what DIYcity could be, and how that could be something really big, powerful and lasting, a real engine for change. But getting there is going to take some money, and a much better site than we currently have, among other things. So that's where we're going next. We're going to get some funds, we're going to turn it up a notch, and we're going to watch it take off for real.
It should be fun.
While we're getting there, Challenges, Discussions, and a multi-city meetup on January 14th are still happening. I've got a lot of ideas I want to throw out on the Discussions list, and will get to those after the new year.
Until then, have fun doing whatever it is you do at this time of year!
The newest DIYcity local group, in Melbourne, Australia, was created today and has this to say on their home page:
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!
Nicely put. Welcome, DIY Melbourne - looking forward to hearing interesting stuff from you all.
We've finally nailed down a time and a location for the first DIYcity meetup in New York City:
The event is set for Wednesday, January 14th.
The Open Planning Project has kindly made their offices available for the meeting. They're located at 349 West 12th Street #3, between Greenwich and Washington streets (map here). Event starts at 6 PM.
Please come - we hope to make it a city-altering, paradigm-changing, mind-expanding, fun experience.
If you do plan on attending, please sign up at http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/1444518/ to give us an idea of how many will be in attendance.
This is a free event of course, and everyone is welcome. Please help spread the word and tell anyone who might be interested.