Loomio
Tue 13 Nov 2018

Ecosystems for cities . . tooling-up smart citizens

M
mike_hales Public Seen by 276

My impression is that the developments discussed here are for organisations - typically coops - and for systems of trading and supply more broadly. Or for freely associating individuals. Is there work directly for cities - the economics of cities (as distinct from coops), the polity of cities (as distinct from value chains)? I'd be glad to get a perspective on this. The urban ecology is such an important site for transition work . . it's where a majority of lives will be conducted in the future?

PTA

Patrick T Anderson Tue 13 Nov 2018

I wonder if the function of state and estate might blur as private cities become more popular, such as https://BlockChains.com , https://NEOM.com and some efforts from Gates and Zuck on hold for now.

GC

Greg Cassel Wed 14 Nov 2018

Cities are communities, and I'm among many people in p2p theory & practice who focus on communities. Some related organisations are directly focused on cities; for example, I'm a steward of Library of the Commons which is emphatically focused on Metro Atlanta issues. Also, all municipal governments are organisations. So I see lots of overlap: I think that the organizing & design issues of all communities and all organisations are logically inherited by all cities.

Of course cities are communities with have special needs, because of physical population density & density of highly diversified activities. Urban design is a crucially important field. I doubt we'd need any apps (in an Open App Ecosystem) which are specially designed for cities; however, we certainly need communities & organisations which focus on urban design as well as specific cities.

M

mike_hales Wed 14 Nov 2018

@gregorycassel

I doubt we'd need any apps . . which are specially designed for cities

I get that. The question is more about the time and skill committed to putting ecologies of apps to work. Working with a coop, say, is not exactly the same as working with a geographical community, and the facilitation of practical development in a coop brings different demands (calls for different learning and work-patterns, if not skill?) than development in a district of a city, or a bioregion?

As @bobhaugen commented recently to @strypey in Mastodon, he and Lynn are not doing so much coding these days, but doing a lot more guidance on how to weave apps into the fabric of practice. Such weaving is pivotal stuff? Hence my query here . . how much of folks' time is going in at organisation level, and how much at district/city/region level? Relates also to @asimong question, in Commons Transition Loomio, regarding the relationship between tech development (eg apps & platforms) and local economic development?

GC

Greg Cassel Wed 14 Nov 2018

Your question is unclear to me @mikeh8 , and this could relate to different perceptions & definitions of terms. The vast majority of my time spent directly for specific cities is through specific organisations, such as the aforementioned Library of the Commons. (However, most of my work is not through orgs; rather, it's open source resources.)

If you want to know what people are doing for specific districts/cities/regions outside of all organisations, well that seems a limited field to me, but maybe others will have relevant experience & want to discuss it.

M

mike_hales Wed 14 Nov 2018

In the thread header I meant to identify coops (or other individual economic organisations) and cities (or other geographical or cultural collectives). Yes, 'organisations' are involved across this whole range. Sorry to be unclear Greg.

I assume that activity in a 'cultural' organisation (like the Library?) or via municipal or community organisations (coop-development initiatives, solidarity-economy projects?) are quite different in some ways from direct operational involvement in employing-and-trading organisations (coops) - and have impacts of different kinds. So I'm interested to get a sense of where the balance-of-impact might lie, across folks in this OAE group.

I guess the FLOSS way to frame this would be in terms of 'use cases'? Trading-organisation use-cases, cultural-organisation use-cases, municipal-organisation use-cases. Etc? Maybe this is more complicated than I thought. Or maybe I'm just not writing clearly, pardon me.

GC

Greg Cassel Wed 14 Nov 2018

Thanks Mike for additional explanation. FWIW I don't perceive any inherent separation of 'cultural' orgs and employing-and-trading orgs. Many cultural orgs have employees, and some trading/marketplace orgs have strong cultural missions. On a technical level, I see economic and political organising (including all employment and trade) as an extension of cultural organising, instead of separated. I see economics and politics as 'superstructure'; at a higher (not better) level of organising. I.e. I think there's cultural organising behind economic and political organising, even when it's implicit and can't be directly observed.

I don't know that that formal perspective can help with whatever you wish to explore regarding the ecosystems of cities. Certainly I perceive ecosystems as being systems which include autonomous systems such as persons and organisations; and we can model, map, support, and distribute resources (such as open source media) to ecosystems without controlling them.

M

mike_hales Wed 14 Nov 2018

Thanks Greg. I'm with all that, conceptually. But do believe that the practices on the ground necessarily differ by 'sector', because the institutions that must be engaged with in the different real-world sectors are to some extent different. Skilful committed activist-developers can turn their hands to all sorts of things, we do it all the time. But the de facto politics - outcome, scope, affected demographic, cultural 'weightlifting' required, opponents & obstacles, etc - do mean travelling differing roads? I don't mean to have a theory debate here (quite close on this perhaps?), I'm interested in the institutional settings within which OAE development work is in fact taking place, and the kinds of real-world practices that are most directly impacted, most often. Call it an ad-hoc, voluntary, participant audit of use-cases?

Between the lines, I guess your own response to this might be 'mixed, variable'. Fair enough, we all go with the flow. But is there maybe a 'median user' or frequently occurring user-mix? Formal coop members - producing tangible goods, personal services, words & ideas, within a revenue flow, etc etc? Solidarity economy activists - working primarily in a town, in a state, across countries, resourced from 'free labour' or small grants, etc? Municipal officials or program managers, with tax dollars or philanthropic funds to commit? Etc etc. All of these, distinct landscapes, distinct challenges, distinct impacts, seems to me.

VG

Vincenzo Giorgino Thu 15 Nov 2018

I am involved in a urban programme based on the development of a digital ledger technology to favour interactions and transactions between citizen. As a sociologist i have still difficulties to understand which is the best choice at this level, but i wonder if anyone is interested to discuss this topic in this blog.

GC

Greg Cassel Thu 15 Nov 2018

^ @mikeh8 I'd say "all of the above", but with two emphatic fields of focus: (1) developing better coops and federations (2) transforming government.

(1) Focus on innovative and practical (i.e. used) organising structure, including decision-making standards, in orgs which may be worker-consumer coops ("dogfooding" resources) on highly localized scales, but organise as federations on larger scales of society. Such federations could maintain limited centralized budgets for developing and monitoring systemic standards which support entire communities, such as metro areas.

(2) Simultaneously working compassionately and cooperatively--whenever that's appropriate, which is IMO usually the case-- with existing municipal & regional governments This political activism element requires participants who are well-oriented to local government structures and people. (And for big cities, this means specialized orientation to general big city problems and also to the specific problems in the city engaged.)

^ If #1 and #2 go well, and I think they ultimately will, then I think we'll see many important transitional public-private partnerships along the way, and transform society "from both ends" towards a shared destination of truly inclusive and distributed governance of all resources, with some functions emerging on all scales of society including planetary issues. Of course most actors wouldn't currently agree with me on the destination; and if I'm right, there will be much myth-busting about design, governance and leadership along the way.

I'm actually quite optimistic in developing such p2p organising, although I'm concerned about global collapse and I'm deeply disturbed by how much activity seems inefficient, irrelevant or counterproductive from my perspective.

Now what does this all have to do with Open App Ecosystem? A lot and a little IMO. I want to focus on general app standards and design for a global open app ecosystem; however, organisers pursuing #1 above would be key users and developers, and proper app development will IMO enable each collective (including ones focused on specific cities) to substantially customize app features and UI to their localized preference.

M

mike_hales Thu 15 Nov 2018

Thank you Greg, it's great to have all that expansion, thanks for being patient with my prodding.

Just to check one thing which is tacit . . Is it your assumption that coding 'in the local loop' is an intrinsic part of this strategy? To "substantially customize app features and U to localised preferenceI"? As distinct, for example, from utilising whatever tools are available, within a carefully considered and self-consciously designed collective practice. Even MS Word can be (politically, economically) useful, depending on the relations that exist between users?

Maybe its the relations of federation that are critical, and the federating apps (and under them, protocols) that equip the federating practice with tools?

SG

Simon Grant Thu 15 Nov 2018

Is anyone suggesting that cities could be self-sufficient in food? Probably difficult... and given that, I guess my interest is the more complete ecosystem involving a city and its surrounding food producing area...

GC

Greg Cassel Sat 17 Nov 2018

@mikeh8 Many resources, such as highly customizable software, are desirable but not currently required. I currently recommend focusing on general-use software such as MS Word, GDocs, Github, Loomio etcetera and customizing most usage via community-specific (and specified!) practices.

Proper modular software design will ultimately make customized usage per agent and per community (including cities) much easier, and take excessively centralized decision process "off the plates" of software devs who already have way too much to think about.

DS

Danyl Strype Wed 5 Dec 2018

Thanks @mikeh8 and @gregorycassel for opening this human geography discussion. Mike, would it be fair to sum up your question as; how can local groups (both formal and informal), organizing in neighbourhoods, towns, and cities, make use of the software developed for open app ecosystems? That is to say, much of the same software used in coop organizing will also be useful in local organizing (eg for decision-making, event calendars, newsletters), but how will local groups
* find out about the software?
* obtain and deploy the software?
* find out how to customize the software to specific local needs?

Is this the question you're asking, or am I missing the mark?

@vincenzogiorgino

I am involved in a urban programme based on the development of a digital ledger technology to favour interactions and transactions between citizen.

Fantastic, welcome! Discussing your project sounds like a great way to explore possible answers to the questions above. Can you tell us more about the kinds of "interactions and transactions" you have in mind, and what kinds of software might facilitate them?

M

mike_hales Wed 5 Dec 2018

@strypey That's almost all of it. The other bit is . . working in cities involves relationships with municipalities - as user communities, as funders, as policy-framework builders, as 'political' formations of a particular and different kind. So I was also inviting comments on 'Is anybody in this group developing that kind of project expertise and perspective in that kind of 'local State' culture, as distinct from working with (smallish?) bounded organisations (coops?) or close-knit communities of free-code anarcho anti-State ppl? Which are different kettles of fish?

M

mike_hales Wed 5 Dec 2018

I have a hunch that the region will be pivotal. As distinct, for example, from the nation-state. Of course, a very large city (and its surrounding food producing/travel-to-work/leisure area) is a region. Pretty much the scope envisioned by Chris Alexander, in his Pattern Language approach to 'timeless' urban design.

DS

Danyl Strype Tue 11 Dec 2018

@mikeh8 @vincenzogiorgino is the Indienet project that the folks from ind.ie are developing for the City of Ghent relevant to this discussion of applying open app ecosystem concepts to geo-local governance? From the Indienet homepage:

We don’t want the City and our industry partners to become smarter about our citizens; we want our citizens to become smarter about themselves. Our goal is to empower our citizens with technology that they own and control. Instead of a “smart city”, we want smart citizens.

DS

Danyl Strype Tue 11 Dec 2018

This discussion of cities also seems relevant to the folks from the Communecter project, is it still in active development? Is this the latest code:
https://github.com/pixelhumain/communecter
@tiborkatelbach @julienlecaille

TK

Tibor Katelbach Tue 11 Dec 2018

thanks for the ping @strypey , more than ever , things are going crazy in france as you might have seen, there a real social transformations going on. We are trying to get cities working in a real democratic and efficient way. We've been recognized (by the people and by the institutions ) as part of the solution as an opensource Terriorial Information System that helps local ecosystems show their presence, make proposals, be resilient and keep independance while continuing local development.
What is going on in France, in Spain, in Italy is amazing in this shity global political contexts. What you describe @mikeh8 is what Communecter is made for , we about territories more than just cities , we also have a new program we are deploying on a large scale territory, here in Reunion, called SMARTERRE, for smart territory. it's not only online tools but also IRL methods for animating and getting things moving towards on all thematics of society taking into consideration respect, cost efficiency and more interaction between people, organizations, projects, events and the decision makers. It seems they've reached some sort of consience of the need to interconnect everything massively and not in a Facebook way, but in a wikipedia way.
sorry for the long text, There's a lot going on and to be said, maybe you guys would like to understand more and deploy SMARTERRE on your own territories ?
we could make it a call or a presentation if you like

M

mike_hales Tue 11 Dec 2018

I stole 'smart citizens' and pasted it into this thread's title. That's the core notion?

M

mike_hales Tue 11 Dec 2018

This is good to know about @tiborkatelbach thank u. Will check out Comunector and Smarterre. D'you have links I should start from? eg, outside the world of Git logins?

TK

Tibor Katelbach Fri 14 Dec 2018

for Communecter here's the english doc

https://wiki.communecter.org/en/
We still have to translate everything about Smarterre

and also go more in detail in the documentation

SG

Simon Grant Fri 14 Dec 2018

Do you have good native English speakers on the translating team? I'm happy to help a bit on the English side.

TK

Tibor Katelbach Fri 14 Dec 2018

Do you have good native English speakers on the translating team? I’m happy to help a bit on the English side.

Thanks for you proposal Simon greatly appreciated :)
translation is done by a great contributor who is German in fact , so any help would really be more than welcome

here is the documentation process

https://wiki.communecter.org/en/translate-the-platform.html

there also is a channel dedicated to translation works where you can meet @scoid the main translator and @Tom Baumert ( tombaumert@animateurmultimedia.fr )

https://chat.communecter.org/channel/cotranslate

there is also an old group called oae anyone can join with an associated chat room

https://chat.communecter.org/channel/cotranslate

it helps to see who is where and what we are working on , by declare our project or events

DS

Danyl Strype Sat 6 Jun

not doing so much coding ... but doing a lot more guidance on how to weave apps into the fabric of practice.

... describes a large part of the work I do as a community developer. For example, the work I did with permaculture.org.nz