Participatory Urbanismby greenspacewriter 04/10/2012
Now that more people live in cities than ever before, how can we contribute to the planning, design and development of our neighborhoods, communities or city? In the dawn of the age of participatory culture, sharing economies, social media and inter-connectivity, what does it mean to contribute to the development of our built environment?
In March 2012, While receiving an award for urban sustainability in Singapore, New York City Mayor Bloomberg commented that making long term decisions on urban development issues will be increasingly difficult if not impossible in this age of social media, stating “We are basically having a referendum on every single thing that we do every day.” Without a doubt there is a definite need for systems and techniques necessary to navigate a sea of comments, and complaints about local urban development via social network channels. We are surely entering a time of increased democratization of information, and participation and cooperation between people, policy makers and planners with the onset of collaborative media. An important first step in a less chaotic participatory culture, is familiarizing people with strategies of communicating with those in charge of development and educating fellow citizens how to be proactive in fostering positive change, in a sophisticated way. Now that we have the social technology to instantly interact with each other on different scales, from personal relationships to political activism; we must now get smarter with the way we communicate and craft our interactions.
All these questions and thoughts lead the GreenspaceNYC team to begin a conversation about participatory urbanism and brought us to the development our new pop-up class Participatory Urban Planning: Crafting Democratic Cities in the Digital Age with urban planner and designer Mike Ernst. We hope to open the conversation to sustainable urban advocates as well as inspiring urbanites who are new to the topic and want to contribute to their city’s future.
On May 9th 2012, Urban Planner, Designer and Educator - Mike Ernst will lead a discussion by first introducing the basics of urban planning to those new to or curious about out the field. Then he will share aspects of his comparative urban studies and propose questions and strategies about how urban citizens can participate in the shaping of cities. This pop-up class will give special attention to the role new technologies play in participating in urban affairs.
In addition to presentation and discussion lead by Mike, GreenspaceNYC is actively constructing a small panel of guest speakers to weigh in on these issues. Special guests to be released soon.
Sources: New York Times. Mayor Warns Of the Pitfalls In Social Media. March 22, 2012, page A25 of the New York edition.