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With five other working groups going, we ran out of capacity and time to further pursue this aspect of "communication infrastructure" work in 2009-11. But we still believe firmly that innovative citywide info-sharing on opportunities related to youth and families is crucially important for young people in the city. Everywhere we go we hear about youth and families unaware of what's available (even for free) for supporting young people.  
 
With five other working groups going, we ran out of capacity and time to further pursue this aspect of "communication infrastructure" work in 2009-11. But we still believe firmly that innovative citywide info-sharing on opportunities related to youth and families is crucially important for young people in the city. Everywhere we go we hear about youth and families unaware of what's available (even for free) for supporting young people.  
  
We're learning more about related civic media projects underway at the Center for Civic Media at MIT (http://civic.mit.edu/); friends from CCM made the next version of the hotline we prototyped for the [[Parent Connector Network]], and it's possible that such infrastructure could be citywide eventually: Leo Burd, who made the hotline, worked on a similar project in Lawrence [[http://www.whatsuplawrence.org/]]. CCM has also been trying to make electronic signs outside of businesses in Somerville, sharing bus information. CCM hosted a next conversation about community calendaring in fall 2012.
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We're learning more about related civic media projects underway at the Center for Civic Media at MIT (http://civic.mit.edu/); friends from CCM made the next version of the hotline we prototyped for the [[Summary: Schoolwide toolkit/parent connector network|<font color=#0000FF>Parent Connector Network</font>]], and it's possible that such infrastructure could be citywide eventually: Leo Burd, who made the hotline, worked on a similar project in Lawrence [[http://www.whatsuplawrence.org/]]. CCM has also been trying to make electronic signs outside of businesses in Somerville, sharing bus information. CCM hosted a next conversation about community calendaring in fall 2012.
  
 
So, we met a lot of people in the community who are interested in pieces of citywide info-sharing. We had capacity only to begin citywide work in our pilot phase, but broader initiatives clarify the importance of such a focus (http://www.knightcomm.org/the-community-information-toolkit-version-1-0/).
 
So, we met a lot of people in the community who are interested in pieces of citywide info-sharing. We had capacity only to begin citywide work in our pilot phase, but broader initiatives clarify the importance of such a focus (http://www.knightcomm.org/the-community-information-toolkit-version-1-0/).

Revision as of 18:54, 26 June 2012

Written by Mica Pollock

Communication we hoped to improve

Citywide, Somerville is full of people who forward emails of local resources to each other and a growing list of blogs, but there's no one "hub" you go to to find out what's going on for young people in Somerville or, what services exist for youth and families. Conversation and enrollment on the most popular education-related citywide listserv is dominated by English speakers.

How can people better circulate information and opportunities so that everything available for young people, is known? We wanted to know.

In a public meeting we held, we found that many people were interested in experimenting with solutions for citywide information-sharing, particularly multilingual, lower-tech solutions to better circulate information and opportunities available for young people and families in the city. The OneVille Project supported some production of multilingual tools (e.g., public videos) enabling more youth/families to hear about community resources and events.

Our work, and our ¡Ahas!

In July 2010, we had a meeting of "mediamakers" from Somerville and brainstormed some citywide issues of communicating opportunities and information related to young people.

The conversation was full of great ¡Ahas! about improving communications across a city! Anonymized notes can be found here.

After this brainstorm, group energy was for a community calendaring project of some kind, for event-sharing. So, from there, the OneVille Project attempted to assist community calendaring by supporting the district's communications director to develop the district's calendaring further, since the district was furthest along as a possible "hub" for community calendaring of child- and youth-related activities. (She also had the District using Twitter actively!). In the end, she spiffed up her the district's calendar on her own.

To try a new way of circulating public information, we then supported a multilingual video to be made by Consuelo Perez at Somerville Community Access Television, sharing out services for young children available at several community organizations. Bilingual staff at the organizations recorded their information in both languages. The editor, Nina Hasin, experimented with ways to mix pictures with translation to bring the information alive. A next idea -- to run the video in public places -- hit up against the idea that there weren't many public screens. Would a paper bulletin board in public places, like in front of Market Basket supermarket, be just as good for sharing information on services available for families?

With five other working groups going, we ran out of capacity and time to further pursue this aspect of "communication infrastructure" work in 2009-11. But we still believe firmly that innovative citywide info-sharing on opportunities related to youth and families is crucially important for young people in the city. Everywhere we go we hear about youth and families unaware of what's available (even for free) for supporting young people.

We're learning more about related civic media projects underway at the Center for Civic Media at MIT (http://civic.mit.edu/); friends from CCM made the next version of the hotline we prototyped for the <font color="#0000FF">Parent Connector Network</font>, and it's possible that such infrastructure could be citywide eventually: Leo Burd, who made the hotline, worked on a similar project in Lawrence [[1]]. CCM has also been trying to make electronic signs outside of businesses in Somerville, sharing bus information. CCM hosted a next conversation about community calendaring in fall 2012.

So, we met a lot of people in the community who are interested in pieces of citywide info-sharing. We had capacity only to begin citywide work in our pilot phase, but broader initiatives clarify the importance of such a focus (http://www.knightcomm.org/the-community-information-toolkit-version-1-0/).

Questions to Ask Yourself if You’re Tackling Similar Things Where You Live

To ask in any community:

In this community, do most people know about resources, opportunities, and services available for youth and families?
If not, what channels would help them get this information?

See also the toolkit created by the Knight Foundation ((http://www.knightcomm.org/the-community-information-toolkit-version-1-0/).), the Catraca Livre effort (http://radarurbano.com.br/opencitylabs/?page_id=25), and other efforts at the Center for Civic Media ((http://civic.mit.edu/)).