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 Soapboxmedia.com 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 http://wiki.hereincincinnati.net/. Join in.

First Question: What domain name?

I need to find a good domain name. I originally wanted hereincincinnati.com 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 wiki.something.com, blogs.something.com, forums.something.com, etc.

Suggestions are welcome.

UPDATE: I went ahead and got http://www.hereincincinnati.net/ 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.