Friday, August 22, 2008

Trust: Part II

"I propose that the Internet is the truest sense of the modern-day city. There are dense populations, a social infrastructure, complex architecture, rules, and culture. I will suggest that there is transportation as well as residences. Drawing mainly on the ideas of Jane Jacobs I will present the Internet as a modern day city that is governed under what I define as "Democratic Anarchy."Emily's paper addresses an issue I've been pondering lately: The extent to which an Internet community such as Second Life is a city. Another way to put it is to ask to what extent are such communities substitutes or complements to real face-to-face communities? I use Jane Jacobs's work as the analytical foundation, of course, which is why her concepts are so prominent in Emily's discussion."

"Instead of chasing non-Long Island planning and economic development consultants, the planning board should consider keeping the economic impact here on Long Island by integrating into its plans the economic and planning expertise available at each county, most Long Island towns, the Long Island Association, Dowling College and Stony Brook University. Recommendations will emerge that the planning board can discuss, at a cost the region can afford."

"An alliance like this makes sense for Long Island. The range of interest groups already agrees that we need more affordable housing. We should get leaders from these groups together in a room, and tell them to come out when they have a concrete plan to build it.

Sure, there will be disagreements. But the power, breadth and common interest of the group would make it difficult for individuals to scuttle good proposals on the basis of narrow interests. And, as in Boston, once the unified group presented its plan, there would be no stopping it.

Many talented and well-placed people would join such an effort, if only we could get it started. That will take leaders, and importantly, leaders from the business community. A couple of individuals, determined to replace hand-wringing with action, is all it would take to get the ball rolling. Who will step up?"

Here we have three elements (of many we have been discussing on this site) which, at first, may seem not to have a lot in common.

Virtual cities? Aren't those just games?

Integrated planning? How do you accomplish that?

Common agreement on a big issue? How to get started implementing these big ideas?

OK, so as we've previously explored current web technology (2.0 and emerging 3.0) makes it reasonably easy to communicate. Among many questions we might ask are, what information do we communicate? How is it relevant? How has it been vetted? Is it dynamic or static information? How do we avoid this "democratic anarchy" explore above?

OK smart guy, if its so easy to communicate, why don't we just communicate get more done here on Long Island. Ah ha very true, but first you must be willing to communicate and have the means and opportunity to communicate.

This is actually what we've been advocating with our "One Long Island" series of proposals (and actually back to the Oyster Bay 2000 days of 1992-93).

So we have the technology to communicate effectively, there is certainly enough capital on Long Island to create/expand the "virtual infrastructure," we have plenty of smart people with great ideas here on Long Island ... sooooooooo .. what's missing?

In a word, trust.

We simply do not trust the that information we receive is complete or has been vetted and analyzed completely (whether it has or not), we do not believe we (the general public) is adequately informed or that our opinions even when heard even matter, we are generally suspicious of government and large organizations ... in short in the maze and daze of daily living we do not have the time to focus on the "larger issues" of the day in a way that will allow us to trust that the correct actions are being undertaken.

So what to do?

Well you could try to just ram things through a la Robert Moses. It won't work, but you could try.

You could try to convince everyone that you have thought of every possible angle and contingency and that your conclusions are bullet proof. It won't work, but you could try.

First we must establish trust, and more importantly a methodology to ensure that this trust is verifiable.

More in Part III.

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