You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Four Surprising Things About Civics and Politics in America

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, April 25 2013

The Pew Internet and American Life Project today released the results of a broad survey about civic life and the Internet. There are some obvious findings: People who are better educated and make more money are more likely to be politically active, for instance, and, as we've known for a while, people who find out about a political topic online can be motivated to seek out more information. But buried beneath the survey's top-line results are some surprising, and still statistically significant, results — things that tell us about the role of the Internet in politics that we did not already know. Read More

Is Crowdfunding the Right Way to Pay for Public Space?

BY Nick Judd | Monday, August 13 2012

Using crowdfunding to pay for civic infrastructure like parks and public spaces is innovative, but Ethan Zuckerman argues that it may set the wrong precedent. Read More

Three Kickstarter-Inspired, Civically Minded Crowdfunding Sites

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, July 31 2012

The idea of public-private partnerships to fund projects like parks or public transit has been on the upswing. In New York City, for example, non-profits work with the city to fund programming in three major parks, and a public-private partnership allowed the city to fund the construction of its now-famous High Line park on an old elevated rail spur. A team hoping to pitch the city's Metropolitan Transportation Authority on turning an unused section of its underground subway network into another park raised initial funding on Kickstarter.

That last success, and others like it, have spurred several entrepreneurs to develop Kickstarter-like websites devoted specifically to funding civic projects. They're not the only ones looking online to renegotiate the relationship between cities and citizens — over the past year, a piece of software called ChangeByUs has evolved over time into a platform for cities to help introduce citizens to one another in the hopes that they'll organize around smaller-scale projects — but they're certainly among the most ambitious.

Read More

A Dispatch From a Project to Build Wired Neighborhoods

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, May 9 2012

A new report documents the efforts of a group advocating for online spaces for civic life to build Internet forums for diverse, low-income communities online. Much of the report focuses on the challenges and the opportunities for growing the forums, and how both offline and online outreach played a key role. It also raises an interesting question: In tight-knit communities that have long held together offline, why ask members to go online at all? Read More

With Plan for Prize, TED Promises Cash Awards to Boost Civic Life

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, March 1 2012

This year's TED Prize is going to the concept of "The City 2.0," the vision of a city of the future, that includes a new online platform to crowdsource ideas for improving the 21st century city. To that end, TED plans to distribute the usual $100,000 prize money as ten grants of $10,000 to local projects, all of which will be announced at the TED Global conference in June. According to Fast Company's Co.Exist, TED will announce the details of the grant awarding process in the coming months, Read More

What Twitter Won't Tell You About the Election

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, February 8 2012

A new study released on Tuesday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press on Tuesday offers the opportunity to get real about what the political conversation on Twitter and Facebook can — or can't — tell you about the progression of the 2012 political campaign. Pew has found that even among users of Twitter and Facebook, a paltry percentage of people use social networks to get news about politics: Only 24 percent of Twitter users in the sample and 25 percent of Facebook users said they "sometimes" got campaign news through that network, while a full 40 percent of Twitter users in the sample and 46 percent of other social media users reported "never" getting campaign news through either Twitter or Facebook. Read More

The City of Baltimore is Looking for a Chief Digital Officer

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, October 26 2011

Taking a page from New York City's playbook, Baltimore is looking to hire a chief digital officer. Unlike New York, where their Rachel Sterne is part of the Office of Media and Entertainment, the Baltimore CDO would ... Read More

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Says: Don't Call Riots 'Flash Mobs'

BY Nick Judd | Friday, August 12 2011

Walk into the right church, apparently, and you hear Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter excoriate young black people for the violence that is making some residents of his city afraid to go downtown at night. But while ... Read More

Get Your Nerd On: Aspen Institute's #FOCAS11

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, August 3 2011

Watch live streaming video from aspeninstitute at livestream.com The Aspen Institute's Forum on Communications and Society, a four-day event on the way governance and civic life is changing in the networked world, began ... Read More

When an Email Chain Should Have Been a Public Meeting, Laws Could Have Been Broken

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, July 21 2011

Prosecutors in Burlington County, Penn. are investigating if an email thread among public officials about a development project proposed by "a politically connected insurance firm" violated public records laws, the ... Read More