Inside the Footprint Blog: one example why community designers should enter web 2.0

05Oct10

I had a conversation recently discussing the state of community design and design centers. I argued that design centers needed to jump into the web 2.0 world. My colleague argued that no one is interested in this information and that there wouldn’t be much dialogue. I find it hard to believe that I am the only one looking to see what community design centers and individuals are doing in their work. It’s nice to go to a website and see pretty pictures of finished projects but the web offers a great way to document the proces: you can tell the story.

One great example of this is Inside the Footprint. I recently was sent the blog when a friend announced he was going the work for the organization, Builders of Hope, whose work is being documented on the blog. The site started a year ago as a way to document buildings within the boundaries of a proposed new hospital site in New Orleans. Since then, the community’s actions have helped to initiate a process to move 100+ houses out of the “footprint” to preserve them and make them available for people to live in.

Without the blog, someone like me, who just heard about this work would not be able to learn about the year long process that moved this from just a documentation endeavor to one where houses are actually being preserved. In addition the site provides a way for outsiders to view the houses and neighborhood and visually see the quality and craftsmanship of these wonderful old buildings. The blog documents engagement tactics and one way to save community assets. Someone could have done all this work and kept it in their personal journal or computer, but by sharing it, it helps others through similar process and maybe gives hope that with action better outcomes are possible.

Is online dialogue and documentation helpful for community change? Where are you finding it?