When We’re All Urban Planners

Making a Virtual Village to Create a Better City

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Illustration by Alex Lukas

Published on Sep 17, 2012

Everyone from the co-founder of Twitter, to the guy who sells haute donuts near your office, to your local councilman and even President Obama is betting on a future in which you’ll open your city app to get news as you geo-map that monster pothole on the corner, find your favorite food trucks for lunchtime and donate to a local park plan proposed by your activist neighbor. Journalist David Lepeska explores the players and tools vying for a place in this emerging, highly networked world. With an eye to structural inequalities and logistical realities, Lepeska provides valuable insights on the most effective ways of using the Internet to harness energy for local civic good. The article offers a close look at crowd-funding start-ups such as ioby and Spacehive, exploring their potential to transform the way we improve our communities and interact with our neighbors. Moving beyond Gov. 2.0 buzz, Lepeska digs into the complexities of civic participation in the Information Age. For anyone interested in how the Internet is reshaping cities and the way we live in them, this article is a must-read.

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