Blog Archives

Participatory Culture, Inclusion, & Problem-Solving

I appreciate the space that Prof. Stephens has given us to catch up and deal with all of the pressing deadlines we have going on right now as the semester winds down.

Having some time to breathe means that I have been take a few minutes here and there to check news sites, blogs, and other media that I enjoy in my free time. I found a couple of articles that I wanted to share here, because I noticed the emphasis on participatory culture and inclusion that we have learned about and discussed in this class. I was struck by how the same principles of transparency, participation, and inclusion were being applied to other areas where there are problems to be solved.

There is a mountain of news articles and blog posts right now about climate change. This article is a bit older, but I came across it and found the ways that the city workers were approaching the issue of heat-related deaths and prevention in the city of Phoenix, AZ, to be similar to the ways we’ve talked about creating hyperlinked libraries: start small, try different things, involve users to get their input, and creating “trials” (beta) to see if any solutions change behaviors or outcomes. I also thought about @desertrabbit‘s Summer Cool Zone program at her library, and all of the different, outside-of-the-box solutions we can find to really improve (or save!) people’s lives.

Additionally, I saw this article about a Nordic urban planning program offered jointly by universities in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. The program promotes making spaces about people, connecting people, and making decisions with the participation of the community to improve the quality of their lives:

“In the Nordics, there has long been an emphasis on people in urban life, and putting them at the centre,” explains David Pinder, a professor of urban studies at Roskilde University in Denmark.

There’s also been emphasis on building more equal societies, he says, an aim accompanied by “a strong discipline of participation” which encourages decision-makers to think about diverse groups when planning new urban areas and include them directly in discussions.

Further along in the article there is criticism of how inclusive the Nordic countries really are and how well (or poorly) immigrants are being integrated into society there. But the starting point of making the spaces– in this case, cities– people-focused, rather than car-focused or some other-focused, created a connection to the types of human hyperlinks we’re exploring in this class.

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