Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

3 Findings on Data & Design for Civic Participation: Tracking Donations via Email, Action Brokering Platforms, Voting With Your Body

I'm here at CSCW, the ACM conference for Computer Supported Cooperative Work (full publication list here). This morning, our session is on civic participation. Brian Keegan started out the session, introducing the three papers.

update feb 24: @EthanZ found glitches in the liveblog, which I have corrected by finishing a sentence and correcting the chart of donations per solicitation.

==Understanding Donation Behavior through Email==
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by Yelena Mejova, Venkata RK Garimella, Ingmar Weber, and Michael C Dougal of Yahoo Research

[Peer economy] Media's place as herald and tastemaker

People are often boggled when I follow up my research interest in the future of work with the name of my M.S. program: Comparative Media Studies at MIT. While I could go on about how economic security is the cornerstone for meaningful pursuits—including civic participation—here's a direct media tie in. The following is an excerpt from my thesis draft. 

The Fordist framework1 is fraying quickly. Economic decline, technological displacement and globalization have resulted in a shortage of jobs that will not rebound. A powerful social contract is broken, leading Americans to question if investing in human capital—apprenticeships, internships, education, experience and technical know-how—is a smart use of time and personal resources.

These conditions account only partially for why attention is shifting to other work models. Another powerful influence is former and current media portrayal.

Workshop Stories from Minas Gerais, Brazil

A few weeks ago, part of the Civic Media team traveled to Brazil to facilitate a set of workshops in São Paulo and Belo Horizonte (a city in the state of Minas Gerais) to explore how citizen monitoring might be useful in holding elected officials accountable for promises they make about infrastructure. These workshops were part of our ongoing design process to create a mobile phone tool that will support citizen monitoring and data collection related to political promises. 

Quantity & Quality of Our Parks in Somerville & Cambridge

The following is a guest post by Namasha Shelling, who works as a Project Coordinator at the Harvard School of Public Health.  Namasha and I have collaborated to build on The Public Land Trust's (TPL) metrics around parks and communities. TPL published their methodology and results openly, and this post is built on that valuable contribution they have made!

Park Quality: Why we should care, not only about the quantity of parks, but QUALITY of parks in our neighborhoods

According to the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a non-profit that works on land conservation in the US, parks are known to reduce crime, revitalize local economies, increase physical activity, and in turn bring communities together. How many times have we heard this sort of phrase before? Not that it isn’t true… but it doesn’t matter how many parks your neighborhood has, if people don’t want to use the parks. 

Scaling the unicorns: Diverse perspectives that serve the public good

In a room of urban planners, architects, engineers, data viz experts, designers, programmers, and media professionals, we asked, “how do we scale the unicorns?”

Unicorns are those perspectives we need, the ones we easily demand but are hard to find. Women coders, technologists in local government, architects in humanitarian aid, geographers in newsrooms.


Unicorns, by rahuldlucca on Flickr

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