Intro to Civic Media | MIT Center for Civic Media

Solve rural depopulation through civic media?

I have my own project in Japan, called SoHub, where multidisciplinary teams work with a rural community that improve the lives in the community through collaborative technology solutions. The community we are currently working with is Tane in Shiga prefecture, which is a rural community facing the depopulation. In SoHub, we are trying to tackle the population challenge through improving the smaller factors (for example agricultural production and housing) of the community - and this motivated me to think of a civic media project.
Can we solve tackle the rural depopulation through civic media?

Once communities start to face depopulation, it is pretty difficult to get away of the loop. Look at the diagram below.

Buy the change you wish to see in the world

Media has shaped the culture of cancer in the United States, and even more broadly, it has changed the country’s general sense of social responsibility. For my final project for Intro to Civic Media, I want to explore this further.

I am the cure

After someone close to me was diagnosed with breast cancer, I found myself drowning in pink ribbon products—pink t-shirts, pink pens, pink socks, a pink hairdryer.

The sale of pink ribbon products is a form of cause marketing. Breast cancer cause marketing can take many forms, but it is commonly understood to be when a business sells their product and promises to give a portion of the profit to a breast cancer foundation. There are a number of challenges that arise from this practice, one of them being that more and more people are giving to social causes by being a consumer.

The use of media and culture in the face of oppression

A possible idea for my project in this class is a case study of how media and culture can be successfully employed by people in the face of some form of oppression and, more importantly, what factors make this victory possible. As I was trying to recall examples that could possibly fit such scenario, I thought of the documentary “Favela Rising” that shows how in the slum areas of Rio de Janeiro, under oppression of criminal gangs, amidst drug-trafficking and corruption, there emerged an Afro-Reggae group that managed to create a community and divert many young people from the very common and profitable path of a drug dealer. The movement started “as a non-profit newspaper for black culture and the communities of the favelas”.

Digital Inequality and Inclusion in Japan

Japan is often represented as a high-technology country, so statistics below often surprise people.

Global Social Network Penetration

Computer ownership as well as Internet penetration rate is lower than expected for its income level, compared to the other countries in East Asia. As for the penetration rate for social network, it is much lower than those of other industrialized countries.

Digital divide and inequality in Uzbekistan

Some parts of the world have already moved on from solving the problems of digital divide of ‘have’ and ‘have-nots’ to solving problems of digital inequality. Uzbekistan, however, is a place where both digital divide and inequality are still evident, with purposefully constructed limitations like censorship and surveillance on top of that. Any politically sensitive material about human rights and the government including news-websites outside of government control are blocked. Reporters Without Borders have listed Uzbekistan as one of the world’s internet black holes along with Burma and North Korea.

Hello (Civic) World! - Miho Kitagawa

Hello everyone - I'm Miho, an undergraduate senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering with the concentration in Biomedical Applications and International Development. My interest lies on product development, user-interface design and capacity building. I'm pretty heavily involved in D-lab ( - where we design appropriate technologies needed in developing countries - and Little Devices Lab ( - where we develop DIY health technologies both for developed and developing countries.

Civic Media for Dummies?

I am currently a research assistant at the Center for Civic Media. Being a foreigner to both MIT and the country in general, it has been a great learning experience. Prior to joining the lab, I worked at the Nation, the leading media house based in Kenya, developing tools to tell stories differently. Part of this experience was also working with activists in Liberia developing tools to help them tell their stories through multimedia. Before the chance to work with journalists came along, I was working for an international agency building tools to help countries become more resilient to disasters. My current interests lie in new ways of engaging citizens leading to specific actions for the common good.

CivicMaps Toolkit: wrapping up the semester at CMS-860

This semester was a blast studying at Civic. I took Sasha Costanza-Chock's Introduction to Civic Media where we studied a series of civic engagement aspects that include media (in a large sense). One of the objective of the course is to get students to work on a civic media project their are passionate about and present the results in the end of the semester. In my case, I decided to work with the CivicMaps Toolkit.

For me, maps are really important for civic engagement. For a while I've been focusing on how the application of technology and innovation can enhance humanitarian action. It is well-known for many how the field changed drastically during the Haiti earthquake response. It was then when the Crisis Mapping community became internationally recognized for using new tools that included social media, networked collaboration and online crowdsourcing to collect, analyze and share information on where to send responders. I am a member of the Crisis Mappers community since then.