Bookmarks for January 27th through February 19th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

CityCamp London

Dominic and his team at FutureGov did a fabulous job of running CityCamp London this weekend.

Sadly I could only make Friday afternoon’s ‘stimulate’ session, which saw a roomful of people at the RSA get together to listen to some great talks about cities, technology and design.

But following the tweets over the weekend for the ‘participate’ and ‘collaborate’ sessions it seems like there was an incredible amount of energy and desire to improve things. It will be fascinating to see what projects emerge from the event.

I must say, my thoughts on Friday were focused around the idea of place, and how places work as systems. I’ve never lived in a city – except on a part time basis when at University – and so I couldn’t help but wonder how an event based around a village, or a market town, would turn out.

Cities, especially vast ones like London, are so big, and so complicated, that they are very difficult to fix, I think. However, whilst villages and towns are obviously on a smaller scale, they also lack the numbers of people wanting to be involved, and having the skills needed to make stuff happen.

This is probably something I need to think about a bit more, and will return to when I have something half-sensible to say.

Anyway, I made some notes during Matt Jones of Berg’s presentation. They are a mixture of things he said, things I wanted to look up and my own thoughts. I’ve pasted them in below the video of Matt’s talk and I will leave you to decide how useful they are.

Matt Jones, Design Director, Berg from aquila on Vimeo.

  • Networked urbanism ? Ruralism?
  • What about villagecamp or towncamp?
  • How do we improve where we live and how does the Internet as a platform support that?
  • Unintended consequences of complex system design. Build it and they come, and you didn’t build big enough.
  • Never waste a good crisis.
  • City (place?) as a system.
  • Use of a system does not equal need for the system.
  • How much is a town or a village a system? Are they multiple systems or one big one? How can the systems be plotted and improved?
  • Government is just a part of these systems.
  • Where does open government fit in? Government must be more open to be an effective part of the system.
  • Data is not truth.
  • The works, Kate ascher (book)
  • Always design a thing thinking about it in it’s next largest context.
  • Shirky – situated software. Look it up. Also the nearlynet.
  • Synecdoche. The part that represents the whole.
  • Open data makes information Hunan scale. Tom Armitage.
  • Hertzian Times (book)
  • Doorway – simon unwin. Porch and doorways – interfaces between public and private.

The web and safeguarding – a new project

Dom Campbell of FutureGov has blogged about the start of a new project around how the web can help improve and innovate in children’s services.

This project will kick off with a get together of interested folk:

To start off with, we are looking to bring together multi-disciplinary senior manager and practitioners, from childrens social services, to teachers, police and health workers, with social web technologist, public service designer, funders – or even just people who have a personal passion for this area – to help us design and run a small Safeguarding 2.0 pilot. Nothing big in the first instance, more a proof of concept if you like, but with the potential to transform the way in which professionals and non-professionals alike might better share information and form the kinds of relationships that might prevent future tragedies.

This seems a great project, and if you’re interested in this area, I would strongly recommend attending the round table event. More details embedded below:


Dom at FutureGov has launched the FutureGovNetwork:

We have developed this site as a really straight forward, open and easy to use place to start to capture those things that we all do to improve public services – share stuff we’re all working on wherever we are, look at what other people are doing and, most importantly, talk.

It’s a strikingly uncomplicated looking site, where you create a profile and then post stuff to a common area. Keeping the barriers to entry so low should ensure a high level of takeup.

Dom says of the development of the site:

You’ll notice we have decided to take a pretty unique approach to developing the network, developing it from the bottom up, starting simply and getting ideas from you the users on what we should focus on building next.

So let us know what you think of what we’ve got so far and tell us what else would be useful. We’ll try and make it happen – and quick! – or if we can’t then we’ll tell you why not.

Sounds good to me. I’m here, by the way.

Hyperlocal alliance

Will, Dom and Kalv are starting something that has the potential to become really rather cool.

So where are we going with this? Well we want to know if hyperlocal people in the UK are up for some sort of ‘UK Hyperlocal Alliance’ (working title) dedicated to a positive future for hyperlocal content in the UK. This isn’t an attempt to form a trade body or a union or a lobby group, just a simple web resource where we can sign up to a simple statement of intent, get in touch with each other and tell our stories.

Leave a comment on the post if you want to keep involved…