Things have been kind of quiet around here lately for a couple reasons: I just successfully wrapped up my first semester of graduate school, and because most of my blogging energy has been dedicated to Rethink College Park, a new community website I am involved in.
Readers of this website may be familiar with the general concept of the site I described in May, or perhaps may have seen the announcement I posted after we launched last summer. However, I have said little about it since then.
In short, things are going very well. We summarized some of our accomplishments in December: we have averaged over 100 visitors a day (In a city of 25,000), published 95 posts and over 200 comments. Our posts have included everything from thoughtful essays on urban design, obscure documents we dredged up about controversial projects, and examinations of a secretive University-led development project. Most recently, we have posted detailed candidate surveys for an upcoming special election to fill two vacancies on the city council.
Furthermore, we have begun to build the infrastructure to make the effort sustainable in the long term. We have identified as a major goal for next semester as recruiting more writers and leaders for the organization. Although it is difficult to measure of the impact of the site, it’s clear that at the very least we are succeeding to create an open forum for the entire community — our first and primary goal.
To top it off, I just found out today we are the top hit if you google “I want to run for city council.” Either we’re doing something right, or there is a sore lack of this type of information on the web!