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Examples of resources from the MIT Center for Future Civic Media
Here are some of civic-media resources MIT will bring to Detroit:
- Hero Reports, in the form of a website, is a security campaign that reports civic courage. It asks citizens to report moments when others make a difference. Acknowledge those who stand up, not in fear, but in hope. These can be small acts of kindness. Giving up a seat for a pregnant woman, holding the door for another. Or actions at times of crisis. The hero who picks up a fallen child, the bystander who assists in a car accident. This is the civic courage that also keeps us safe.
We'd love to work with individuals, community groups, media organizations, anyone interested in creating and strengthening positive community identity in Detroit. Please come to see us at JTM in Detroit.
Contact: inge at media . mit . edu
- Helping street vendors leverage the social networks they have built
- Amplifying the community-building role that street vendors play in their neighborhoods
- Providing a means for street vendors to receive additional job skills training
- ExtrAct is a set of web-based technologies for collecting, organizing, and sharing information designed for communities impacted by extractive industries. Its goals are to empower communities by improving internal and external information flows and leveraging computational power and crowdsourced information collection to combat information disparity. (Though not be directly relevant to Detroit communities, it is an excellent case-study in community action.) See: Landman Report Card
- Contact: Christina Xu, ckx AT mit DOT edu
Department of Play
- The Department of Play initiative aims to develop easy-to-use, open-source digital toolkits with corresponding curricula and pedagogical guidance to support youth-led active exploration, participatory learning, and civic engagement among children and adolescents in their neighborhoods. http://departmentofplay.org/
- What's Up is a neighborhood news system that combines the power of the web, SMS and telephone to help children organize local community events (block parties, games, festivals, etc.) and find out what is happening in the places where they live. For more information, see the Department of Play website and click on Projects and Tools.
- Contacts for Department of Play and What's Up: Leo Burd and Danielle Martin: departmentofplay at media . mit . edu
- Red Ink is web based personal finance software that enables individuals to apply collective knowledge to their own consumption behavior. How might communities use it? The website (in development) provides constituencies with tools to collectively measure the effect of their economic power as it relates to specific industries and businesses, while maintaining privacy for individual users. Up until now, accounting of this nature has been vague or unavailable. More accurate spending data will be a valuable lever for organizations involved in collective action, collective bargaining, and fundraising. See a video at the Civic Media site
- Researcher: Ryan O'Toole
- Low-cost tools made from readily available materials like trash bags and inexpensive cameras can be used to create maps of local communities. Best of all, community members can learn to do the mapping themselves and provide more detail than the satellite maps available on Google maps. Grassroots mapping website
- Citizens in New Orleans recently used balloons and kites with the Grassroots mapping software to map the oil spill in the Gulf.
- Researcher: Jeffrey Warren
MIT Center for Future Civic Media
20 Ames Street E15-320M
Cambridge MA 02139
inge at media . mit . edu