new tool for change in Philly
Seeing this new site asking for citizen ideas for Philly would be interesting enough any time, but was especially moving because I know Rob Stuart would have said something about it if he were still alive.
Rob died suddenly last month, at 49 years old. He was a long time advocate for Philly citizens, anti-corporatism, democracy and participation at the local level.
I can only imagine how much he’d have dug this site, with its simplicity and built in network-centric design. Look at the way the Post-It motif instantly makes any one contributor see that she or he is part of a larger community of participants. It also uses the visual vernacular of Post-Its to create a sense of brevity and informality, which lowers the barriers to participation way, way down.
Of course, the proof will be in how much use it gets, which often depends more on if there are hot issues that already have people personally involved, or that have high visibility in the news.
I wrote a remembrance of Rob on TechPresident.com with Allison Fine that says a lot more about his influence on web advocacy. And if you knew him and want to get involved in some of the things he cared about, his friends have set up a great site about him.