A Knight Commission discussion paper meeting is happening right now. The article Creating Local Online Hubs: Three Models for Action is giving profile to an important concept.
This is a page to share links to model "online hubs" for local community information sharing and engagement.
Where to connect with grassroots local hub "builders":
Please add details about the projects above.
Our approach since 1994 has been to map power in a local community and place an online commons (a hub) right in the center of it. Less a "portal" and more a community information stream (in recent experience - like a Twitter hashtag) what matters is real outreach to ensure the participation of elected officials, active citizens, journalists, everyday citizens and very importantly diverse communities whose voices can gain a platform.
We've found over the years that local information providers provide information and find it extremely difficult to attract a sustained audience for engagement IF they are so bold to host it. Our 35+ Issues Forums like Minneapolis with over 1300 members including many elected officials, are like a roving book club reacting to government information, local news, etc. and most importantly generating news and public opinion from their dialogue. Also as demand for our "community building" neighborhood level work has exploded we are finding greater participation of elected officials who have a strong incentive to engage "their voters" publicly as a group online.
- Serving "under-served" communities with local hubs:
- Inclusive Social Media - Neighbor Issues Forums in high immigrant, low income neighborhoods - including Cedar Riverside (East African) and Frogtown (SE Asian, African-American, White and more). Funded by the Ford Foundation and others. Lessons from our blog.
- Rural Voices - Launching Issues Forums in rural communities, including the majority Native American Cass Lake Leech Lake area. Funded by Blandin Foundation. Final report lessons from our blog.
- Judgment Calls:
- Rules and Forum Managers - How E-Democracy.org makes judgement calls on facilitating local online participation