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Common sense

If a government genuinely wants to serve its people, it must begin by directly helping them. If it wants to fix a place, it must help the people in that place. As indigenous people, the residents know the place best, and their perspective should be given the most weight.

The best approach is to empower the maximimum number of individuals to contribute to their community, in such a way as to help the community improve, and thus contribute to their individual happiness. Any process that improves a city, neighborhood, etc, must give operational control to the widest possible group, to best use their knowledge of place, to make human-scale improvements.

When everyone works together to improve a place, it provides the best chance to do no harm, and to make a place healthy.

City planning and human rights

When governments create and execute plans, made internally or with a small group of people, human suffering is both the short-term and long-term result.

In contrast, if governments accept the priorities of the people, and give them control of spending, the result will immediately improve people's lives, and create a more fruitful and robust process for the long-term.

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Successful Community Projects


The cycle of improvement
Citizens must be empowered to make financial decisions -- to allocate a continual stream of funds for small, incremental improvements.

The community looks at the big picture. What do people need most?
List possible actions

The community gathers the possibilities: small actions that can have maximum positive effect on all priorities.

The community chooses from the list.
Act. Evaluate.

The act is carried out with full transparency, so that everyone can evaluate the results.

Steps to democratic development
Empower the grassroots

a. find all people native to area under question
b. put them in charge
c. give them resources to discover community strengths
d. encourage them to prioritize community needs
e. encourage them to open up to outside suggestions, for incremental improvements to serve their priorities
f. facilitate the widest possible democratic participation in decision-making and action.
g. encourage conservation: encourage protection of anything that works, no matter how small
Develop local skills & organizations

People are passionate. They search for meaning in their lives and in their work. They will excel, in the local & global economy, in the field they are most enthusiastic about. Facilitate anything that helps them discover this passion, and incubate the result.

Local economic development does not mean attracting colonizing businesses to your city. It means discovering local talent, allowing these to mutually support each other, and form deep interrelations with the rest of the community economy. In this way, the most is made of human potential, and the local economy thrives.
Facilitate community networking

People feed off of their communities, and visa versa. So every means of communication (bulletin boards, exhibits, meetings, gathering spaces, radio and TV access, web communities, etc.) must be constantly facilitated.

Community Projects
What we do
A people-centered approach

Many cities and government agencies make requests for proposals and development teams. But we believe that the people of a city should actively, incrementally improve a city. We submit the people as a development team, forming a local, effective, inventive, locally-focussed, locally-based, informed public group. This turns into an ever-growing coalition of citizens.

We use the web to do this: for collective work, consciousness-raising, fund-raising, and community organizing. We bridge the gap between reality and the Internet, by placing web interfaces in real places where people can make decisions based on the reality around them.

This is an online facilitation of grassroots development, for people and governments.

As the computer-familiar population grows, the demand for political participation over the web grows too. It is best to facilitate this, and facilitate this interaction in the real world, on-site, rather than fight it.

We're exploring ways to make an individual's contribution visible to an extremely large group, so the group can make the best decision, and avoid the pitfalls of professional commandeering of a community entitlement.
Bridging reality and the web

Good public work must be extremely transparent, well-summarized, and interactive both in the abstract presentation of results, and in the emergence of changes in reality. Among many other useful tools (public mock-ups, experimental events, trial services, etc.) we put Internet-enabled computers on site, in the places in question, with assistants. This provides an incentive for people to get involved, with an interface they can also find on the web, to give the maximum number of people the ability to see the processes of urban improvement, and improvement in their lives.

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