Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Technology and movements (and models of social change)

What makes someone put themselves at risk for an abstract idea, say, like freedom, a better future, an imagined utopia, an ideal? And how does this one person come together with other and become many? How does a movement start? What are the factors, catalysts, that make an action significant and pushes many more?

Who knows, really.

However, our Intro to Civic Media class tried to approach an understanding of some of the basics that are the building blocs of a movement. We tried to identify, through our different readings and an exercise, some key characteristics that might be common factors in a model of social change.

Final Project Update and Proposed Outline

This post is an update on the progress of my and Hailey Lee’s final project. Our original proposal can be found here.

Our Working Title: Minority Representation in the Boston Television News Industry

One interesting fact that was pointed out to Hailey and I in class was that Boston is now a “minority” dominated city, so the terminology of our paper might get tricky. Once we collect more data, we will decide what terminology to use. Terms suggested in class were “people of color” or “marginalized groups” as an alternative to minorities.

The three groups we have decided to focus on are blacks, Asian Americans, and Hispanics.

Another distinction we will make in the paper is the separation of mainstream media, public media, and community media. We will focus on mainstream media.

On the question of how to measure democratic participation, we will look to census data and voter turn-out, although Sasha pointed out voter-turn out data may be inadequate in some areas.

Now for an outline of our paper:

Collaborative Design!

In today's episode of the Co-Design Lit Review, I'm looking at the Collaborative Design space. I noticed something interesting while working on this week's chapter. The term "collaborative design" is most predominantly used to refer to the use of multi-disciplinary design teams and not explicitly to community involvement in the design process. Because of this, there is a lot of interesting work in the collaborative design space on topics like conflict resolution and work flow. Though the Co-Design project is most closely focused on direct community engagement with design processes (and thus focuses on issues that occur when non-professionals are brought into the design process), these other issues, though framed in a professionalized context, are still very relevant.

Modernity, the Telegraph, and Complex Systems

Did Modernity start with the telegraph? In our class last Wednesday, we discussed this claim from James Carey's 1989 book, Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society (you can read Carey's telegraph article here). Here is his astonishing and fascinating central claim:

the innovation of the telegraph can stand metaphorically for all the innovations that ushered in the modern phase of history and determined, even to this day, the major lines of development of American communications.

VIDEO: Civic Media Session: "Civic Maps"

Laura Kurgan, Pablo Rey

Maps, Geographic Information Systems, and spatial analysis are powerful tools that recently have become increasingly accessible to non-specialists. Dynamic maps with user created content are becoming part of daily life in the 1/3 world (developed countries and elites in the global South). There is a long history of maps as tools for civic engagement, with public participatory GIS and community engaged mapping playing key roles in (for example) indigenous land rights struggles, mapping health disparities, and the environmental justice movement's demonstration of the unequal spatial distribution of pollution. Most recently, new tools and platforms like Open Street Maps and Grassroots Mapping are democratizing maps even further.

What challenges still constrain the effective creation and use of Civic Maps? What tools and platforms are most promising? What steps can developers, practitioners, and researchers take to help build the field of civic mapping?

Download or watch below.


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