Urban Democracy, One Click at a Time?

The Economist magazine dedicated a special section of their March 1st issue to democracy. That essay observed that two decades after the triumphant 1990s, the political ideology is facing challenges. China’s rise has shown the economic efficiency of centralized power, and Russia, Venezuela, Ukraine, and Argentina are “perpetuating a simulacrum of democracy” rather than doing […]

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Review: Ehrenhalt’s The Great Inversion

In the acknowledgements section at the end of his book, The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City, author Alan Ehrenhalt demurred he is “no Jane Jacobs” but says he followed her advice for researching cities, namely to study them through close personal observation using a minimum of preconceptions. The results of this […]

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The Trouble With ‘Civic Media’ Studies

On the Radical Anti-Institutionalism of Internet Intellectuals I recently attended a talk by Ethan Zuckerman, the director of the MIT Center for Civic Media advertised as addressing the question “is digital media changing what it means to be an engaged citizen?” As a blogger, founder of three hyperlocal news websites, and now student of technology […]

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Hubway Data Visualization Challenge

Curious about how people are using the new bike sharing systems that have been popping up in cities around the world? The bike sharing system in Boston, Hubway, has released detailed data for roughly half a million trips as part of a data visualization challenge. Sponsored by Hubway and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, competition […]

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Crowdfunding Urban Infrastructure: Can It Be Done?

“Crowdfunding” refers to the use of the internet to raise money from a large group of people for a cause. The canonical example is Kickstarter, whose donors have pledged over $230 million since its founding for a variety of creative projects. Although most Kickstarter projects seek only a few thousand dollars, seven have raised over […]

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