Portland is a quirky collection of distinct neighborhoods cultivated in the best of books, food carts, microbrews, coffee, music, and outdoor recreation. Portland is a friendly and civic-minded community, striving for civic creativity, civic awareness and involvement, in addition to economic and environmental sustainability and active participation in making Portland a better place to live and work.
What if we attempt to harness all of the above favorable attributes by pulling together so many disparate information sources and services into a single community-driven interface or dashboard? A dashboard that could be configured to individual users tastes, and be optimized for the type of user (i.e., resident, business owner, government, etc).
What's missing is some way to tie everything together, to organize the information. An ideal solution would make use of existing methods of those already actively participating and embrace hyper local content down to the neighborhood block level.
What we already have (please suggest more):
— Geo location based Tweets (point or neighborhood based)
— Collection of other messaging platforms (forums, smartphones)
— Media outlets (newspapers, blogs, hyper local sites, etc)
— Commercial Aggregators (Google Local, Yelp, Craigslist, etc)
— CivicApps, PortlandMaps, PublicAlerts, PortlandOnline, PDX Reporter (iPhone app)
Proposed solution (again, please refine/comment):
Create a community driven database of (hash) tags that can be added to content and messaging. Allow tags to be tied to user created geographic overlays (boundaries on a map). And, most importantly, encourage whole communities to use the tags whenever creating content for those they hope to target locally or extend their reach to others.
To achieve this, the following types of tools would need to be developed to facilitate/drive adoption:
— Tools to harvest tagged content from many information sources (Google, Twitter, Facebook, Craigslist, Flickr, local blogs, newspapers, online communities, etc).
— Tools to identify and accommodate the inclusion of existing tags, make it so tools could be embedded in local websites (via API).
— Tools to bind tags to particular geographies.
— Tools to notify property and business owners for a given geography tag, to promote a tag for use (advertise an event, organize a neighborhood watch, etc).
— Tools to demonstrate and drive client-side adoption; consumer-side receipt of producer-generated tags.
Critical Success Factors:
— Will require broad participation and adoption by the community; concepts like Twitter and Facebook work because everyone participates, not because they're hard or breakthrough technologies.
— Must work with existing web ecosystem and not duplicate efforts or compete in anyway with private sector.
— Work proactively with developers to participate and empower them in creating an ecosystem with these tools.
— Moderation performed by citizens to combat spam, abuse, and profanity.