Friday, November 21, 2008

Wiki Work for 11/21/2008

Tonight I started out with updating the relevant articles with the results of the November 2008 Elections.

From there I moved on to the In The News Page to tackle some of the stories that have been getting old in there. My original goal was to not let anything get older than a month old, but I've been letting it build up for a while now.

Tonight I was working on this story about some LEED projects getting started in the Gateway Quarter. It was actually more work than I thought it would be. I had to create a number of new articles including Over-the-Rhine, LEED, and Urban Sites. I still have to create articles for the Northpointe Group and B2B Equities.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


There was an interesting post on BLDGBLOG yesterday that reminded me of one of the pages I added to the wiki on Thursday about the Great Miami Valley Buried Aquifer. The post refers to an article on New Scientist that's about the work UNESCO is doing related to groundwater resources. I figure it's a good excuse to do a post with a lot of maps in it...

If you live in the northwestern part of Hamilton County, you probably get your water from the GMVBA, an extensive sand and gravel aquifer that extends in a southwesterly direction from Indian Lake, north of Dayton, Ohio, to the Ohio River, generally following the course of the Great Miami River.

If you live in the orange area, you're served by the GMVBA:

Greater Cincinnati Water Works puts it through this filtering process before it gets to your house.

Since this aquifer doesn't cross any international boundaries, the UNESCO Convention on transboundary aquifers doesn't apply to us much here, but we do have a consortium that protects the aquifer, dealing mostly with pollution issues.

These are the areas protected by various municipalites nearby:

Just for good measure, here are some more maps of groundwater resources for the whole state of Ohio:

One Month

The wiki turned one month old on Sunday. Interestingly over this past weekend, the wiki received both its 100th page and its first bit of spam. I added one more anti-spam plugin that should help prevent any more spam from accumulating. So far so good.

From the November 2008 Elections page I created pages for each of the four Hamilton County Commission candidates and also one for Steve Chabot and one for Steve Driehaus.

All of these articles are just stubs right now. They will need a lot more information to become more useful, but we'll get there eventually. I'm happy with how far the wiki has come in just one month.

Friday, October 24, 2008

November 2008 Elections

I made a page today for the November 2008 Elections. I would like to get information on as many of the candidates as possible. Ongoing wikification of elections is something I would like to continue.

The page also contains the Local Issues that will be on the ballot on November 4th.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Recent Wiki Work

I haven't posted in several days but I have been contributing to the wiki here and there. I haven't been staying on pace with answering The Big Here questions though.

I added the first of what I hope will eventually become numerous articles for neighborhoods: College Hill, Madisonville, Pleasant Ridge, and Westwood. The articles are all fairly short. I created them because those four are mentioned in this article about form-based codes as being neighborhoods that are interested in pursuing FBCs. I hope the articles will grow and encompass much more information about each neighborhood over time.

I also added an article for Fifth Third Bank because I wanted to see who was in its board and administration, but that hasn't yielded anything particularly interesting yet.

Yesterday I created articles for The Planning Department, and some Charterites. I also created an article for Milton Dohoney.

I addition to many other minor edits, the main strategy I've been using is to take each article on the In The News page one by one and add the relevant information to each page. Once I've edited every page that seems like it could possibly use the information from the new item, I remove the item from the list of news stories. I try not to let any news story older than a month sit on that page, although I think I'm digging up articles fast than I'm wikifying them.

Today I got started on wikifying the story on the Fifth & Race site, but I haven't gotten all the way done yet.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wiki Work for 10/13/2008

I updated the wiki some more today. I started with this article about Form Based Codes and worked out from there, and did some work on the Urban Land Institute of Cincinnati, Cincy Character, and Roxanne Qualls.

I also found another interesting person, Candace Klein, that reminded me of when I discovered Robert Maly. Candace is connected all over the place. She is a part of many, many different groups and organizations around the city related to planning and "young professionals". This is why I'm doing this. To find people like her. I think it is extremely interesting.

I found a good way of discovering more interesting people too. You can look at the "most linked-to pages" and see what article names are popping up in the most places. The nice thing here is that it includes names of articles that don't exist yet. Any page with more than one link is potentially interesting, particularly when it comes to people. You can see that there are a number of names on the list that apparently belong to more than one group that I've wikified so far. Those are the people and organizations that I'm going to start writing articles for first.

Also, I must mention that I haven't had a chance to answer another Big Here question in a while. I guess I've been filling up my time with other things. Hopefully I will have time to tackle some of them this week.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Two Questions Answered Today

I answered two questions today since I was lazy and didn't do one yesterday. I'm still picking all the easy ones for now.

First, for question #16 I found out that the nearest active fault line to Cincinnati is the New Madrid fault line in New Madrid, Missouri.

Next, for question #30 I found out that the next full moon will be on October 14th.

Wiki Updates

I've made some modifications to the wiki that should be useful.

First, I've created a logo! It is very simple, but it works:

I copied the pixelated "Cincinnati" from the big sign on the Duke Energy building downtown, which can be seen in this photo:

Cincinnati Skyline: Duke Energy, originally uploaded by showcorvettelove

I also added two "extensions" to the wiki. One is the "Cite" extension which lets you use the "ref" and "reference" tags to cite references on a page. This should make it easier to cite sources and keep a page easy to read.

I also added a anti-spam filter that should only come into effect if someone tries to make an edit including a hyperlink that leads to a blacklisted url. If we never see anything from that one that means it's working!

Yesterday I added entires for Children's Hospital and Procter & Gamble as well as a few others. Right now I'm focusing on getting the boards of directors up for these big companies so as to see the overlap between said boards. Eventually I want to added in other relevant info as it comes along.

I didn't answer a Big Here question yesterday, so I'm going to see if I can get two answered tonight.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wiki Work for 10/02/2008

Today I was short on time ( watched the VP debate ). I was able to fill in some more answers on The Big Here quiz. First I filled in #7: "How far do you have to travel before you reach a different watershed?", which was easy since I found most of the answer yesterday. By my estimate (which is very rough), you'd have to travel almost 200 miles to reach a different watershed from here.

Next, I filled in #19: "How many days is the growing season here (from frost to frost)?". I found two different answers, and it's obviously something approximate that varies from year to year. Cincinnati usually has around 192 days from frost to frost.

The only other thing I added was a lengthy quote from Roxanne Qualls about Form Based Codes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wiki Work for 10/01/2008

Today I started out by trying to incorporate some information about Uptown and The Uptown Consortium. I also created an entry for Tony Brown.

From there I moved onto 3CDC and UC. I added the boards of directors and important staff for both organizations.

The other thing I did was to try to add Categories onto some of the articles to make it easier to see which groups of articles go together.

The Big Here question that I answered today is #3 "Trace the water you drink from rainfall to your tap.". I found out some interesting information from the city's website.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Interesting Connections

One of the hopes I had for the wiki, was that it might illuminate connections between things that aren't obvious. Tonight I discovered one such interesting fact while editing the wiki!

I discovered that the person that appears in the video in my last post, Robert Maly, not only works for The Model Group as a developer in the new Gateway Quarter area, but he also co-chairs the Effective Governance Team for Agenda 360.

This is not an obvious fact. It is important to stay aware of how those in a position to make planning decisions and influence policy are also likely to benefit from those same decisions. This is the central thesis ( I think ) of Who Rules Cincinnati? We should ask ourselves what qualifications Robert Maly has to sit as a chair on the Effective Governance Team.

Hopefully more connections just like this will spring up as the wiki grows.

Today's Wiki Work: Gateway Quarter and Cincinnati Weather

Today I tried to pull some facts and figures out of this promotional video that Soapbox Media did for 3CDC about the Gateway Quarter:

Revitalizing Over-the-Rhine from on Vimeo.

I stashed the important quotes right here in the Gateway Quarter page on the wiki.

I also tried to answer some of The Big Here questions. For question number #11 I put "east" but I'm not sure if storms come more from the northeast or the southeast. Do you?

I also answered the rainfall question, which is #21. The total rainfall in 2007 was 36.72 inches.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Big Here Questions

I've been looking at The Big Here questions I posted on the wiki and I've decided to attempt to answer at least one a day.

Some may take more than one day to complete, and I'm going to take that as a prompt to post what I dig up. I'll make a post here on the blog when I dig up one of the more gnarly answers.

Also, help is welcome! Join in!

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Wiki has been set up

I went ahead and set up a MediaWiki at Join in.

First Question: What domain name?

I need to find a good domain name. I originally wanted but it's already owned (by The Enquirer).

A good domain name will have the following qualities:

1) Easy to remember.
2) Not hard to spell.
3) Preferably ends with '.com'.
4) Has 'cincinnati' in it.
5) Expresses the nature of the site: local, planning, openness.

I want to have a real domain and hosting so I can set up tools and have nice sub-domains like,,, etc.

Suggestions are welcome.

UPDATE: I went ahead and got There is nothing there yet. Stay tuned.

What's the Big Idea?

Ok, should I do this smallest to biggest, or biggest to smallest? Smallest to biggest:

I want to make a website.

I want to create a place online where Cincinnatians can be more involved in and informed about the direction the city is moving in. Think: a wiki for city and regional planning.

I am deeply influenced by the web and web culture. For example I am far more familiar with the work of Clay Shirky, than say Le Corbusier. So it's not surprising that I would see a website a solution. I do think that there is some precedent out there for things like this being useful, like the Melbourne planning wiki.

I also want to put things on this site about the structure and activities of the entities that "rule" the city ranging from politicians to large corporations. I think transparency has an enormous role to play in proper planning and governance and I think that a lot of the relationships in the upper echelons of leadership are unknown or unclear. A good first project would be wikifying Dan La Botz' 2007 study entitled "Who Rules Cincinnati?"(pdf). Beyond the idea of a collaborative website for "planning" I want to foster in a larger way, the idea that communities of people should be the owners of what happens to their regions.

The second biggest inspiration and purpose of the website is Kevin Kelly's quiz called "The Big Here". My first thought when I encountered the quiz is that people should share the answers with each other. I would like to see a place where people can gather information that is otherwise obscure. I think enabling this kind of regional awareness is important not only for "planners" but for all citizens. Answering some the questions of current conditions is the first step toward finding solutions.

So in the spirit of the web, open source, sustainability, and democracy I hope to build a place online for people to work together toward a better understanding of what's going on in the community and where the region is going. In doing so, I hope I can inspire people to the open, participatory way of thinking and doing. And who knows, maybe it will make Cincinnati a better place than it already is.

Here In Cincinnati

I've got an idea for a project. I don't see any limit to how big the project can get, but the first step is starting. This blog represents a start. In my next post, I'll outline the ideas that surround what I want to do. Stay tuned.