open source cities

I opened up my subscribers list to find a new follower of my blog. This always excites me a little because it means that someone appreciates what I’ve had to say enough to add it to their list of information. And each time I get a new follower or someone who likes one of my posts I have a compulsion to check out their blogs, if they have one.

My latest follower, luckily, has a blog and right up front is this video about open source cities. The idea behind an open source city is essentially a game type scenario in which citizens propose projects to other players like officials or artists or business owners or developers and become active participants in the development of their cities. This video proposes “Open Source Moscow 2012” as the “game environment”.

Do we think this is something that could actually work? On a small scale? On a large scale? Are there inherent problems that jump out at you when you see this type of idea?

Immediately, the problem I see is getting people, citizens, to buy into this sort of thing. As citizens, we tend to feel mostly powerless already when it comes to affecting development decisions in our cities. We tend to either discover changes in our city via the news, after the fact, or through experience once something is already in place. So there is the danger that only those “in power” would even engage in this sort of exercise, which makes us no better off and no closer to a city influenced by those who live, work and play within that city.

What else comes to your mind? Pro, Con, whatever. Let it fly.

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