Vancouver ChangeCamp 2011

We’re back, baby! – RSVP now to secure your ticket

Session on telling untold stories at Vancouver ChangeCamp

Photo by Jenny Lee Silver

When: Saturday, November 26. 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Where
: The Hive. 128 W Hastings #210, Vancouver BC.

Vancouver Changecamp is a unique event to learn, share and connect with change makers in the city. If you want to see change in yourself, your community or your city, Vancouver Changecamp is the place to start.

Vancouver ChangeCamp addresses the need for renewed relationships among citizens and government. We seek to create connections, knowledge, tools and policies to drive transparency, civic engagement and democratic empowerment.

This year the theme for Vancouver ChangeCamp 2011 is the upcoming civic elections November 19 for the City of Vancouver. This will mark the start of a 3 year mandate for the municipal government. This marks a great time to envision and act on the change you want to see.

Attendees at Changecamp are passionate about bringing about positive change. This year we are bringing together the most engaged changemakers from across Vancouver. You won’t want to miss this so register now!

Join us to

  • Learn: Get grounded in skills needed to make change, get practical advice and benefit from the experience of those in the community who have been trying this for a while
  • Share: Let everyone else in on your social change successes! Share your stories, your projects and your change.
  • Connect: Find a unique constellation of change agents, business people, non-profits, activists, government folks and most importantly, people with lived experience in the issues we all care about.

And if there is something you really want to talk about that’s not on the agenda, that’s great! Lead a session on your topic in the unconference. Unconferences provide the opportunity for participants to share their experiences, raise challenging questions or facilitate a conversation on topics generated on the fly. It’s an engaging, energizing, and sometimes chaotic, way to ensure everyone has a voice in the discussion.

If you have session ideas for Van ChangeCamp 2011, please comment here with your ideas or, alternatively, you may submit your proposals to vanchangecamp (at) gmail.com. Check out last year’s sessions for inspiration

If you are excited about the new ways that change is happening in the city, curious about how change will happen in the future, unsure about the pace of change or just want to celebrate the changes we have already put in place, please join us at Van ChangeCamp.

Telling Untold Stories | ChangeCamp 2010

Telling Untold Stories: Low-wage workers as effective new media makers

We’ll explore how the storytelling capacity of low-wage workers as effective media makers can be developed in order for new media to fulfill the promise of bringing previously unheard stories into mainstream conversations. We’ll explore the challenges of creating compelling media that tells the currently untold stories of low-wage workers, from the perspective of workers themselves, in ways that shift how we think about social priorities and solutions to problems faced by low-wage workers. By sharing ways to overcome barriers of technology and access, and also by reflecting on barriers stemming from being disconnected from the language and networks of decision makers and new media leaders, we can begin to think of how to apply new strategies for widening the social impact of new media possibilities. Drawing on lessons learned from successful models, such as Philadelphia’s Media Mobilizing Project and Baltimore’s United Workers Association, we’ll explore some of the lessons of “the telling of untold stories” and “the battle of stories framework” developed by these two organizations. We’ll also consider storytelling in the larger sense, discussing how stories shape perception, create movement, shift power and are often best told visually and across media platforms, combining stories of the heart that move with emotion and stories of the mind that carry ideas and shift thinking. Discussion will relate models elsewhere to examples of how to unharness the power of new media for social and economic good in Vancouver and the rest of B.C, including in the context of organizing child care workers in B.C. Proposed by Tom Kertes (Liberation Learning) (tom@tomkertes.com).

Other resources…

  • Please add resources

Process for developing Participation Plays (featured in the video example):

Battle of Stories Framework / Storytelling Activism:

 

Storytelling and Theatre Resources:

Examples from Elsewhere:

Good Online Engagement | ChangeCamp 2010

convened by @zannalyons

What is good online engagement?

  • diversity of opinion and people
  • star power, hook to get involved
  • ladders of engagement for people to be involved at different time / commitment levels
  • process is designed with end-product in mind
  • people feel heard
  • good facilitation
  • ground rules are clear
  • value-add for participants, not just conveners
  • well organized, tagged entries to support easy navigation, avoid duplications and facilitate building on each other’s ideas
  • set up for ongoing reporting and easy analysis at back end
  • collaborative
  • time to explore ideas before making decisions
  • expectations are clear for how and why to participate, and reporting back / responses by conveners
  • clear focus / direction for the dialogue.
  • Designed technically and in structure for receiving / using input
  • low technical barriers to entry
  • collaborative tone
  • ensure the structure is iterative and responsive to the dialogue, and allows branching
  • What happens with your contribution / expectations. Hear back, see report, see others’ response. On demand / indexed summaries
  • people using forum should set boundaries for it
  • online not ubiquitous
  • carefully set up expectations
  • digital divide – people distrust govt
  • not a homogenous discussion

How to improve online engagement?

  • have tool to quantify degree of support (gradients) or dislike, to measure feedback and feed into offline actions
  • limit anonymity to certain levels of engagement (scale up based on willingness to ID)
  • need to protect privacy if want to identify contributor in some way
  • need language that reflects people submitting ideas are not usually those who are making decisions (dialogue, deliberation, conversations?)
  • use principles of adult learning
  • geolocate attendees to ensure their voice should be counted as reflective of community priorities
  • have strategy to drive people to the dialogue
  • have meaningful content
  • be clear: what is your goal? Is it really dialogue?
  • custom settings for privacy?
  • Use software to collate input
  • can’t remove need for facilitator

Open Data – Session Two | ChangeCamp 2010

What data is in most demand?

· Vancouver received little direct input
· Put up geographic/spatial data as a starting point (~50 datasets)
· Precipitated some demand for other spatial dataset; some that weren’t held or available
· Otherwise very little demand and only a few applications built against the data
· Real value might need to be at least partially measured by references and support to reporting

Would be incredibly valuable to for the province/city to release dataset of all datasets.

Is there a linkage between freedom of information requests and Open Data?

· City of Vancouver hasn’t specifically looked at this but is aware of the discussion, but most of the data is non-structured

· Yes, but releasing data may create greater trust which might decrease FoI requests

After crime, executive council and budget data appear to be the most requested datasets based on the experience of other open jurisdictions

Dynamic, real-time data would be of especial interest because of its intrinsic value and clear linkage to potential applications

A further consideration is that not all data can be released without some transformative routines, which require resources

The city and province might be able to answer their own question regarding high value or demand datasets by considering themselves users

Would be useful for local governments to post their developed application on the MISA forum in order to avoid duplicative effort

Privacy may be a barrier to sharing data, but this should not be just assumed but must be tested. And there’s a tremendous amount of information that could be released without any privacy implications

Maybe recreation and community centre data (and especially dynamic data) would be most useful

Perhaps 311 call records might point to other possibilities

RSS feeds assist with pushing out data changes but may not be enough; more proactive or geographically focused solutions might be of greater value

Important to recognize that we’re near the top of the Gartner hype cycle and it’s therefore incumbent on the city and province to build community and use the data themselves to continue innovation and build value

Open Data – Session One | ChangeCamp 2010

Two main discussion areas:

1. There is a culture of permission or rather lack of permission within government when it come to open data. While there are datasets and public servants possibly prepared to open some of the data, they are not clear that they have permission to do so and they often do not even know who they need to ask or what process they need to go through to open data.

  • Vancouver is working on a process right now that will inform branches within the city of the process they can go through to release data
  • Vancouver could also make this process available to other municipalities that could potentially use a similar process
  • Potential for automating the process of opening data
  • Providing people within provincial ministries with the contact info of people that need to sign off to release data
  • organizations that have adopted the cost recovery model now rely on that cost recovery for their budget making the leap to open data more difficult. Reminder to business areas that want to make money on their software or their data – what business are you really in? Are you really in the data selling business?
  • On closer examination most government organizations don’t really make much money on selling data – usually costing as much to manage as is made. It’s often better for everyone if the data is just released for free – minimizes unnecessary administration while enabling citizens

2. What can government do to make data more usable once it does open data?

  • Non-proprietary formats, open licensing are important, creating applications that use that data are not so important
  • Rather than spend effort and time building presentation layer tools for open data focus on releasing data in an open format.
  • Releasing data is the one part that other citizens cannot do
  • Citizens can then work with adding to it, creating viewers, apps for it, etc..
  • What about source code? Since code is data, and there are no privacy concerns, code should be opened up as well
  • Some code cannot be opened because it’s not owned by the government
  • One example of why this is valuable: Code created by governments and maintained on contract can be open sourced and this is good because it would foster competition between vendors. Right now, vendors who maintain systems have an advantage because the are the only ones who understand the systems, because they are the only ones with access to the source code. By making it available to all – more vendors could compete thus lowering the cost of maintenance to government bodies

I believe these notes are from the other open data discussion lead by Kevin J.

 

What data is in most demand?

· Vancouver received little direct input

· Put up geographic/spatial data as a starting point (~50 datasets)

· Precipitated some demand for other spatial dataset; some that weren’t held or available

· Otherwise very little demand and only a few applications built against the data

· Real value might need to be at least partially measured by references and support to reporting

 

Would be incredibly valuable to for the province/city to release dataset of all datasets.

 

Is there a linkage between freedom of information requests and Open Data?

· City of Vancouver hasn’t specifically looked at this but is aware of the discussion, but most of the data is non-structured

· Yes, but releasing data may create greater trust which might decrease FoI requests

 

After crime, executive council and budget data appear to be the most requested datasets based on the experience of other open jurisdictions

 

Dynamic, real-time data would be of especial interest because of its intrinsic value and clear linkage to potential applications

 

A further consideration is that not all data can be released without some transformative routines, which require resources

 

The city and province might be able to answer their own question regarding high value or demand datasets by considering themselves users

 

Would be useful for local governments to post their developed application on the MISA forum in order to avoid duplicative effort

 

Privacy may be a barrier to sharing data, but this should not be just assumed but must be tested. And there’s a tremendous amount of information that could be released without any privacy implications

 

Maybe recreation and community centre data (and especially dynamic data) would be most useful

 

Perhaps 311 call records might point to other possibilities

 

RSS feeds assist with pushing out data changes but may not be enough; more proactive or geographically focused solutions might be of greater value

 

Important to recognize that we’re near the top of the Gartner hype cycle and it’s therefore incumbent on the city and province to build community and use the data themselves to continue innovation and build value

Citizen Engagement on Gov. Websites | ChangeCamp 2010

Q: Why engage online?
A: That’s where people are; some ppl are stay-at-home mon’s and/or shy to give opinion in public speaking venues etc and online gives them a way to communicate when time allows and gives them a voice

Q: What are some positive aspects?
A: Opens up opportunity, diversity of voices, C: need to define engagement

Q: Is Twitter just another channel? Can we call it engagement? Also ask yourselves what the citizens will get out of it.
A: It’s about serving citizens better, not just about gov’t getting their word out A: To serve citizens.

Q: Is it engagement when you only ask for comments/input online –> it’s not dialogue Is it true engagement?
IAP2 Ladder of Participation: Empower; Involve; Consult; Inform
C: Do it online because that’s where people are. You can organize groups around a topic.

C: There is danger – not being F2F people feel it’s okay to say/do things that are inappropriate. It needs follow up considered.

C: Online provides opp. for people (esp. shut ins) to have a voice

C: leads to greater, better ideas/input

From Knowledge As Power and Sarah Schacht: Basic Advocacy Headlines – A simple, effective tool for organizing communications from citizens to legislators, electeds, staff, etc. A free, open standard any government can implement with a simple text form on their website. Link: http://bit.ly/bahead

ex. HB1234-PRO-98115-5542

Victoria BC We improved response back procedure/policy.

Did consut’n process with public. Many people wanted inpvts made to response back

People want a response!

Govt should respond in some way. If you want people to participate who don’t normally participate they need to know – listening – their input is being considered.

UBC Tips Be clear, honest, get back to people. post the input. It’s important to have moderator. can catalogue people’s comments. Don’t bury the input on your web page. Bring it forward. Don’t forget to involve people through video, music. Not everyone is inspired through words.

Fresh Media | ChangeCamp 2010

FRESH MEDIA
Participants: amanda, nicole, lenny, julian, kam, mauree diamond, nikki, josephine ,christina ,hanna,kat, tanya

“We’re interested in doing events using fresh media concepts. What would you want to see in the reshaping of media based on the collapse of traditional media?”

Re-imagining Media – some journalists now using different types of social media to get more holistic stories more diverse, series of voices as opposed to black and white, 2sided issue ssocial media being used to inform independant media

  • what kind of media do we want to make?
  • involves story-telling, possibly with journalistic approach
  • we’re used to hyperlinked actions and thoughts, citizen gen, fresh is young, fluid & open

crazy event idea

  • powerpoint karaoke (with twitter feed projected in behind)
  • hilarity ensues
  • stories, sharing, no desired outcome planned, just idea of bringing ppl together so the unexpected can happen
  • building a critical mass of people
  • bringing ppl together around interesting themes
  • “I tweet specifically around new media & politics” twitter should be more specific/ organized/ more ediquette
  • creating app for election cycles
  • provides rich interactive content, going door to door
  • emphasis on feedback and ability to see impact of your actions
  • the person who knows that they aren’t helpless, they do make an impact, that does have the power – issue cloud
  • “I think the best example Fresh has is what happened during the Olympics”
  • the media looking for the negative and all the bad news – turned into the good story
  • the user generated media
  • true north – actually changed practice – bloggers for the first time we included as “media”
  • new media forces traditional media to look at multiple sides of a story
  • crisis brings out a variety of voices

wiki leaks – bringing huge stories

  • why isn’t mainstream media taking these on – legality
  • new media is shedding new light / however raises concerns of reliability

fact check for redistribution?

  • this is what’s happening now… after trends are identified in blogoshphere, etc then is checked for validity or discussed as a popular topic
  • crowd sourcing fact checks is more reliable than one person or group responsible under a tight timeline/ structure/ etc?
  • questioning both accuracy of new and trad media

movement in mainstream media

  • individuals taking on more of an identity – ie. gillian shaw as opposed to just vancouver sun reporter
  • not just all about objectivity
  • how important the technological changes are
  • the internet is the most profound change that has taken place
  • plus the digitization of media
  • moving from broadcast model to very democratized
  • how many “media” there are
  • we’re really dealing with the nature of our democracy
  • everything becomes digital, cheaper
  • just look at the camera phone
  • having media for all different ways of thinking
  • there’s no unity/ support to filter*
  • daily paper/zines
  • undermine big media with cost and have been somewhat successful
  • the amount of noise vs. the amount of useful info
  • attention span and expectancy sped up to unseen levels
  • how can people move together, unified force for extended periods, constant pressure as opposed to forced pressure over short periods
  • there is so little support/ funding for in depth journalism, getting the bottom of a story
  • we’re not necessarily benefiting from everyone being able to say whatever they want
  • trad media being downsized so much they don’t have the budget to do all the work
  • how can new media fill the urgent needs to give more time, space for quality stories
  • everyone trying to do all facets of media
  • re-stating same reports across various mediums

media co-ops: how can we do that?

Notes from Citizen Reporting | ChangeCamp 2010

Technology adoption across various parts of Gov’t/311 online

  • There isn’t even a direct email address to reception for City of Nanaimo
  • you can call and get directed or go in directly to office and get referred to correct person
  • how can technology facilitate various issues – urgent vs. non-urgent
  • emails/ text messaging – quick & easy, non-threatening, not looking for connection or to start communications with another perso
  • the immediate answer makes you more comfortable
  • when calling, you want an answer on the phone – not get a fax or email later… you would send in medium that you wish to receive

challenge breaking up

  • the need government creates for expertise
  • ie – search function is akin to walking into library without dewy decimal and only librarian has the information to allow you to find what you need

most governments now or planning to accept digital data

  • boston – citizen connect
  • fix my street canada
  • very little in accountability
  • a way for gov’t collecting data – and hopefully to manage/ organize
  • parking mobility – citizen reporting of disabled parking

openparliment.ca

  • how’d they vote
  • we’re starting to hold gov’t accountable
  • we’d like to start holding citizens accountable
  • now let’s chat – should we just have a reporting system for simple city nuisance or more legal/ personal
  • where do we draw the lines?

what’s the process?

  • how does this get back
  • with 311 nuisance – there is opportunity to collab and take ownership
  • but with parking mobility – app allows all the documentation (better info
  • a need for citizens to be able to do this kind of reporting
  • our governments are facing massive financial challenges
  • governments are trying to figure out how they can essentially outsource by giving tools to citizens
  • this is a revenue stream for the government
  • how secure is the information? easy to forge?
  • grieving your neighbour – this happens now.
  • this conversation wouldn’t take place in France
  • the culture = “you don’t rat people out”
  • which violations which affect people and are worthy of doing this
  • a reporting mc Donald’s – drive thru citizen personal attacks
  • reporting mechanisms – suspected slavery
  • there is an increasing number of slaves working out of homes / businesses – within our own neighbourhoods
  • incredibly difficult to report
  • multi-channel communication – agency / police / citizen
  • agency can only take action when there is a reporting
  • is there an opportunity for gov’t to request more data on specific data sets
  • uptake and reporting / user engagement has been low
  • portland – launched an app reporting potholes, graffiti in a month = over 4000 reports (3 years of work)
  • How to make accessible to everyone, engage more people (not everyone has an iphone)?
  • marketing and communications will spread 311

Pay user to grow app?

  • monetary incentive – wrong motivation
  • certain risks and costs involved in obtaining/ using app
  • change structure – gold digging off violations doesn’t seem right
  • look at Groupon – refer a friend, get $10
  • partner w/ local businesses – discounts, rewards with some value
  • contests, diverting to charity
  • focus on the people who care on that specific topics
  • meaning in civic work is more powerful
  • a category of employed, more strenuous process, they go out and they’re the turfs, earning flat rate

hardware vs. software

  • cost
  • ease of employment

vancouver had a 311 that is seriously unknown

  •  narrow casting issue leads to success
  •  issues here based on how reporting is done – ie Breathalyzers, speed traps
  • access to recording mech. and how it works, source codes, etc
  • fraud photos – only defence is the ability to fight

Sample ideas for ChangeCamp 2010

The Back End of Open Government

New technologies are rapidly increasing the capacity of citizens to contribute to government planning and decision-making. But this creates new challenges for civil servants and elected officials – how should they deal with increased flows of public input? What’s in it for them if they do? What kind of changes are needed inside government to ensure that public input has an impact on policy? How can we help to make it happen? This session is designed as a round table discussion, with the goal of sharing knowledge and identifying best practices. Bring your stories and ideas about how to promote change within government or other organizations. Proposed by Amy Lang (amlang@interchange.ubc.ca)

 

Canoe to Work

This year for the commuter challenge was going to canoe to work. I was going to portage down Cambie St, paddle across False Creek to my office in Yaletown with a big sign on my canoe saying “there are greener ways to get to work”. DSF and BEST were behind me (figuratively).

However, I found out from Margaret at BEST that the commuter challenge is not happening in Vancouver this year due to lack on funding by the BC government. So I wimped out! My wife and a neighbour (who offered to print the sign) called me on this – I shouldn’t wimp out just because the government did.

In brainstorming with a couple of change gurus, we like to continue the spirit of the commuter challenge with a revamp, a contest and some new buzz.

So the proposal this year is to hold a “How many eco-friendly ways can you get to work .” For example, canoeing, ballooning, rollerblading, etc. It can be held over a week or two with prizes for craziest commute, most different ways of commuting, etc.

Proposed by Steve Unger, Ambassador DSF, Green Team Captain SAP Vancouver

s.unger@sap.com

 

Community Development Crowdfunding Network

Developing an online interface for peer-to-peer crowdfunding for community development projects. Exploring the questions: How can social media and peer-to-peer technologies directly support grass roots innovation? How can we utilize such technologies to de-institutionalize community development initiatives?

Proposed by Lee White, Community Development Leader with the Community Capacity Building Strategy

lee@leewhite.ca

 

Citizen Reporting: Where is it going?

In the past, citizens have been an integral part of ensuring a well run society. This has included actively informing government and police services of issues through the use of direct verbal contact and phone (911 and 311). With recent developments in mobile technology enabling more extensive reporting (through the use of cameras, video and audio recording, and customized applications) we are seeing an explosion of citizen reporting tools for mobile devices. These are being developed by social enterprises, for-profit companies and cities themselves. What are the opportunities? Should there be limits? Should citizens be “policing”.

Proposed by Campbell Macdonald, Co-Founder Parking Mobility , campbell@parkingmobility.com

 

Mobile Technology and Access for People with Disabilities

Mobile technology is enabling user-generated content to be created that is current, detailed and widespread. Foursquare and Yelp! have shown that restaurant experiences can be documented and shared effectively. But what about letting people with disabilities or mobility challenges to know what services are available or which restaurants can accommodate the blind? Capturing detailed information on points of interest and accessible routes is possible, but what’s the best way to proceed.

Proposed by Campbell Macdonald, Co-Founder Parking Mobility , campbell@parkingmobility.com

 

Media Co-operatives: democratic ownership for a democratic media?

Mainstream news media are generally conventional hierarchical corporate structures in which the content creators — editors, journalists, videographers, artists, and technicians — are mere employees who must submit to the orders of management. But conventional corporate structures serve only the interests of owners and managers. Media co-operatives are owned by the content creators and offer a more democratic approach to media. What makes them work? Are there successful media co-ops? Why are there so few of them in Canada? Can they create a democratic media environment? This session explores the co-operative model of media ownership, especial for new and electronic media.

Proposed by Stuart Hertzog — greenpolitics.ca dandeliontimes.net stuart@stuzog.com

 

Freshening up Canadian Media

Media makers are beginning to use social media to draw out more stories and information, looking to crowd-source knowledge from the people formally known as the “audience.” Fresh Media, a project of OpenMedia.ca, is looking for input on how we can bring more media innovation, participatory quality journalism, and new forms of artistic expression to Vancouver and Canada. This session will help inform a series of networking events to take place later this summer aimed at bringing media makers, technologists, and citizens together to re-invent our media system. What can we as citizens could do to remake media, support independent media, and further develop participatory quality journalism? How can we stop approaching social media and investigative journalism as being at odds with one another, and instead help enable media makers to use social media as a way to collect citizen input in their work? How can we enable and empower independent media makers to take center stage in our media ecology.

Proposed by Fresh Media (amanda@openmedia.ca //www.freshmedia.me// , //www.openmedia.ca//)

 

Telling Untold Stories: Low-wage workers as effective new media makers

We’ll explore how the storytelling capacity of low-wage workers as effective media makers can be developed in order for new media to fulfill the promise of bringing previously unheard stories into mainstream conversations. We’ll explore the challenges of creating compelling media that tells the currently untold stories of low-wage workers, from the perspective of workers themselves, in ways that shift how we think about social priorities and solutions to problems faced by low-wage workers. By sharing ways to overcome barriers of technology and access, and also by reflecting on barriers stemming from being disconnected from the language and networks of decision makers and new media leaders, we can begin to think of how to apply new strategies for widening the social impact of new media possibilities. Drawing on lessons learned from successful models, such as Philadelphia’s Media Mobilizing Project and Baltimore’s United Workers Association, we’ll explore some of the lessons of “the telling of untold stories” and “the battle of stories framework” developed by these two organizations. We’ll also consider storytelling in the larger sense, discussing how stories shape perception, create movement, shift power and are often best told visually and across media platforms, combining stories of the heart that move with emotion and stories of the mind that carry ideas and shift thinking. Discussion will relate models elsewhere to examples of how to unharness the power of new media for social and economic good in Vancouver and the rest of B.C, including in the context of organizing child care workers in B.C. Proposed by Tom Kertes (Liberation Learning) (tom@tomkertes.com).

 

Online Identity – Your drivers license / ID card in the virtual word

We use government ID every day, when you go to a bar, when you purchase tickets, rent a car, get on a plane. Why can’t you do the same online? Teams in government are working to solve this problem and the United States has made some steps forward (http://www.idmanagement.gov/drilldown.cfm?action=openID_openGOV). What I want to know is what do citizens think of this? Would you like to use your government issued ID to identify you everywhere online without the need for a username and password. How do you feel about government agencies sharing contact information so when you move you let the post office know and they let the taxes know and so on and you do this all through a single online identity?

Proposed by Jeff Jacob, Application Analyst, City of Nanaimo (jeff.jacob@nanaimo.cahttp://twitter.com/phansoft

 

Augmented Reality, Citizen Media and Policy Change

Mobile and pervasive technologies are coming online (and off-) that empower citizens to read and write data/media in their lived environments, and concurrently, virtual worlds are merging with these (augmented) physical spaces. Don’t get too excited – what we should be talking about now (and what I propose to talk about in this session) are the policy implications (the obvious ones being privacy, freedom of speech, intellectual property, and ensuring equality of access to media, but there are many others…).

Proposed by Jean Hébert, PhD Candidate, School of Communication, SFU (jeanhebert at sfu dot ca , URL: clicknoise dot net , Twitter: @jeanh)

Community

What kind of community do we want to create, sustain, be part of? And how do we go about intentionally making this so?

Community is more than a collection of people who live and work in the same place. It’s about how we relate to each other. Our relationships can be deep, centered on trust and grounded in shared respect and love for another. Or they can be shallow, centered on either mere proximity, constructed community identity, or transaction and trade. We can relate to another another in terms of utility to each other, or as human beings. We can hide or withhold our true selves in how we relate, or we can be vulnerable and open.

Being intentional about community requires that we know what we want and expect from community. It also requires that we work with others to create community. This can happen on many levels – including the personal, family, neighborhood, government, cultural, political, and economic levels. Community is experienced both informal and formal ways, through personal practice, custom, law and tradition.