Good Causes

TEDx + inTeractive Somerville

Posted by Ezra Glenn on March 05, 2012
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Yesterday I was pleased to be a part of the first-ever TEDx Somerville event. I only had four minutes on stage (which, if you’ve ever heard me speak, is barely enough time to get through a few opening wise-cracks), but it did provide a great platform to plug SCC’s new inTeractive Somerville website. In an attempt to showcase the ability to use this site to encourage and enable sharing (of ideas, data, meeting notes, news and personal stories, and more), I snapped a quick photo of the TEDx audience and by the end of the talk had it uploaded, geo-tagged, and posted to create a new discussion thread. (Full disclosure: there was actually some shifty behind-the-scenes driving tricks going on, thanks to Christian Spanring, who was hidden just offstage.)

The videos aren’t posted yet, but when they do go live, be sure to skip right past me and look for Somerville’s own “Alex the Jester” playing different tunes on three recorders all at the same time.

PS: If you are interested in learning more about inTeractive Somerville, and possibly adapting the platform for use in your own community, you should know that the code for the site is all open-source and available at github.

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Mel King Institute Training: ACS for CDCs

Posted by Ezra Glenn on February 11, 2012
Census, Good Causes / No Comments

On March 14, 2012, I’ll be working again with the Mel King Institute for Community Building to offer a half-day training in “Making Use of Local Census Data.” We designed the class for planners and community development practitioners working at the neighborhood-scale, and we’ll talk about ways to access the latest data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey (and how to use it responsibly).

Unlike earlier versions of the training, we’ll be working exclusively with the New American Factfinder (previously discussed in this post) to download data. We’ve also moved the class to one of MIT’s computer labs, and added an hour at the end as a “clinic,” so participants will get some hands-on time to dig up data on their own community.

For more information about the Mel King Institute, or to register for the training, see this page. See you there!

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Somerville Community Corporation Annual Meeting

Posted by Ezra Glenn on February 10, 2012
Good Causes / Comments Off on Somerville Community Corporation Annual Meeting

Last night was the annual meeting of the Somerville Community Corporation, which is always a great event, and this year was no exception. In addition to me being elected president along with a great slate of officers and new board members, it was a great chance to showcase some of the work of the organization over the past year.

One of the most exciting new efforts is the new Interactive Somerville website, which is helping to engage the community around the challenge of planning for the new MBTA Green Line extension. In essence, SCC and our community partners are working to crowd-source the entire planning process in a fun and collaborative on-line space. There are some great ideas there, and as with all good planning processes, the community we develop around the plan is as important as the community we will develop through it. At the meeting, we gave a special award to MAPC’s Christian Spanring for the countless hours he has put into getting this project off the ground and into its current state of excellence.

Another new on-line effort that was presented was the launching of our new Everyone’s Somerville site, which helps make the case for keeping Somerville affordable. This is the cause that brought me to SCC, and it provides the foundation for all the work we do, whether it is bricks-and-mortar housing development, community organizing campaigns, or new virtual spaces for community building.

If you are as inspired as I am by the work of SCC, please consider helping us out by Donating to SCC.

(I also need to give a huge thanks to Janine Lotti, our outgoing president, who has done so much to lead us over the past four years. Luckily, she is staying on the Board and I know she will continue to be a great friend to both me and SCC.)

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