Monthly Archives: October 2008

Crowd-powered Dog Park in New Orleans takes shape

A group of residents in Brooadmoor have worked hard through two years of planning to collectively develop a plan for their own neighborhood dog park, collaborated with the neighborhood organizations, gathered the necessary resources, and are now working with the city to make it a reality.  Below is an interview with Dogmoor leaders Duffy Voigt and Maggie Carrol.

Who came up with the Dogmoor idea and why?

The original broad concept of a dogpark to serve the Broadmoor neighborhood came from the community-driven planning efforts of early 2006. In the Broadmoor Redevelopment Plan, residents identified the importance of pets in the family and community as it relates to uses of park space for a dog park and the need to foster responsible pet ownership. Duff Voigt, a Broadmoor home owner who had just moved to the neighborhood weeks before Katrina, coined the “Dogmoor” term and spearheaded the work of the Dogmoor Committee. After having moved to the French Quarter temporarily while his house was being renovated,  he had the opportunity to take advantage of the unofficial Cabrini Dog Park and wanted to see that experience come home to Broadmoor. The dog park provided an excellent resource for collecting and sharing neighborhood information, dog training, and community building. It also got the dogs far more tired than just walking them would have, and gave instant dog socialization that urban dogs often lack. When he expressed his desire to bring a dogpark to Broadmoor, several community members joined him and began working as a committee to make Dogmoor a reality.

How did you work with the neighbors and the neighborhood group to make the dog park a reality?

We’re still in the process of getting the dog park to reality. We are currently coalition building to get surrounding businesses and communities on board with the park. The park obviously presents several major benefits to all involved, and we anticipate this will be the easiest part of the process. Between the increased commercial traffic and public safety improvements of having people in a commercial/light industrial zoned area, the dog park seems a no-brainer.

What online collaborative tools would have helped in the organization process?

Email has been a large part of the planning process. We have also have made limited use of Google Docs in order to share documents amongst committee members. The website will also likely provide a way to issue announcements to park users as well as solicit donations for its maintenance.

Why does this benefit New Orleans and are there any other specific areas of the city that you can think of where dog parks would be welcomed by the neighbors?

An officially sanctioned dog park would finally lend legitimacy to the dog park movement within the city. There are several unofficial dog parks around the city that have evolved through custom. However, having the dogs off-leash in these parks is technically illegal, and they are always under the threat of being closed down by city officials. They provide a community gathering place, get people on the street with their dogs, and promote responsible dog ownership.

Every neighborhood in New Orleans could use a dog park, but the existing “maverick” parks at Colosseum Square, Markey Park, Cabrini Park, and the Audubon river front could use some infrastructure improvement (or creation) and official city recognition and support.

Find our more about Dogmoor.  Maybe the Dogmoor committee can show the NOLAguys, who used Policypitch to pitch an idea to build a dog park in the warehouse district, how its done!

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Filed under community, crowdsourcing, New Orleans

Brooklyn Community tries crowd-curated museum

The Brooklyn museum hosted a crowd-powered event in July – August 2008 called Click!  Click! asked its community for art, hosted an online forum for commenting and critquing, and then ended in an open exhibition at the museum:

Click! is a photography exhibition that invites Brooklyn Museum’s visitors, the online community, and the general public to participate in the exhibition process. Taking its inspiration from the critically acclaimed book The Wisdom of Crowds, in which New Yorker business and financial columnist James Surowiecki asserts that a diverse crowd is often wiser at making decisions than expert individuals, Click! explores whether Surowiecki’s premise can be applied to the visual arts—is a diverse crowd just as “wise” at evaluating art as the trained experts?

Click! is an exhibition in three consecutive parts. It begins with an open call—artists are asked to electronically submit a work of photography that responds to the exhibition’s theme, “Changing Faces of Brooklyn,” along with an artist statement.

After the conclusion of the open call, an online forum opens for audience evaluation of all submissions; as in other juried exhibitions, all works will be anonymous. As part of the evaluation, each visitor answers a series of questions about his/her knowledge of art and perceived expertise.

Click! culminates in an exhibition at the Museum, where the artworks are installed according to their relative ranking from the juried process. Visitors will also be able to see how different groups within the crowd evaluated the same works of art. The results will be analyzed and discussed by experts in the fields of art, online communities, and crowd theory.

Is it possible that this success can be transferred to a larger scale?  What if Prospect1– launching November 1, 2008 in New Orleans – contained a crowd-powered element for the next biennial in 2010?

More on Prospect1 and future crowd participation here.

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How to establish a community garden?

Anyone can do it through crowd-powered neighbor collaboration.  Parkway Partners in New Orleans has been doing it for 26 years.  Parkway’s mission is to empower residents to improve quality of life through the preservation, maintenance, and beautification of neatrual grounds, green spaces, playgrounds, parks, community gardens and the urban forest in New Orleans.  Among many other programs, Parkway works with neighborhoods to create community gardens.   Their process for turning the idea into reality comes in several steps:

  1. Identify a vacant area and gather a group of interested neighbors. Select a representative to act as liaison with Parkway Partners
  2. Contact Parkway partners and tell them about the project.  Gather data on addresses to the  buildings adjacent to the vacant property.
  3. Parkway Partners begins the research necessary to identify the owner and obtain permission for its use.
  4. Meet with neighbors to establish interest.  Schedule a meeting of interested neighbors.  Once a commitment to the garden is assured, select a project coordinator to schedule a meeting with a representative of Parkway Partners
  5. Clean-up day is organized for the site once permission to use the property has been granted.
  6. Make a Plan.  A garden plan is designed by the neighbors in conjunction with Parkway Partners and gardeners.
  7. Raise funds.  Money must be raised from public and private sources to establish and maintain the site.  Often, the city department that manages parks will help with maintenance.
  8. Finally, the framing is set in, soil is amended and the garden is planted!

More about Community gardens at the Neighborhood Partnership Network in New Orleans.

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Filed under community, crowdsourcing, environment, New Orleans

Policypitch idea “outdoor movie on the levee” takes hold

Since it was pitched a few weeks ago, the “OUTDOOR MOVIE SCREENING ON THE LEVEE” idea has attracted 293 views and earned a rating of 4.7, the number one rating out of all ideas pitched on Policypitch. The substantial interest by New Orleans citizens to have such an event led the woman who pitched the idea, Diana (Director of www.MakeNewOrleansHome.com), to email me about further collaborating through policypitch.com to make the idea a reality!

Many New Orleans residents are excited about the prospect of an outdoor movie screening on the levee, or at some other park in New Orleans.  Other cities have done similar events, but this is first time one has been proposed in New Orleans.

Diana is now working to put the event together.  While she will be coordinating the planning, most of the decisions will be made through crowd-sourcing and collaboration with New Orleans residents using Policypitch!  Contact Diana at makeneworleanshome@gmail.com.  Check the pitch page for more details!

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The Feast: Social Innovation Conference in NYC

Our friends at alldaybuffet.org are hosting The Feast next week in New York.  The conference has a great group of speakers including New Orleans’ own Robbie Vitrano from Trumpet.

“The Feast” will gather 150 of the world’s leading creative mavericks, entrepreneurs, revolutionaries, radicals, and innovators together to inspire action to change the world.

Anchored in innovative ideas with a focus on action, The Feast will take a cross-disciplinary look at executions, strategies and concepts – digital answers to global problems, social design solutions and successful triple-bottom line business models. And more than just watching, The Feast will connect this remarkable network through “matchmaking” networking breaks, group projects, and one legendary after-party! Our hope is to leave you high on possibilities with a new menu of connections to get it all done.

Mike Karnjanaprokorn let me know the other day that alldaybuffet is brining The Feast to New Orleans around February 5, 2009!  Keep checking back for more details!

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Updates: redesign

The Policypitch.com team has been working on redesigning the site, developing new features, and adding new tools since our launch..  While we are still a ways away from launching the redesign, we would like to know…

What can we do better?

What features would you like to see?

How can we improve the website to better suit your needs?

Feel free to email suggestions to zach@policypitch.com or post comments below.

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Filed under news, Policypitch.com updates