Introduction to Section I
What is Civic Intelligence
The basic idea behind civic intelligence is that a group of people are collectively more intelligent than the individuals are alone. When this collective intelligence is harnessed to address the issues that these individuals face as a group they are able to tackle complex problems and improve the quality of life for all. This idea of addressing civic ends through civic means is not a new concept. But, in today's culture of hyper-individualism, consumerism, social services, and government as an institution that utterly fails to support local economies or healthy civic settings, the development of the study and implementation of civic intelligence is much needed.
A look at Section I
This first section of the Civic Intelligence Open Text Book will develop on this basic concept of group intelligence applied towards civic means. The first chapter on Motivation will set the stage for the need to develop civic intelligence. The following chapter will show the presence of this concept throughout history. We will follow up with an overview of Related Disciplines exemplifying civic intelligence today. Section II will explore in depth these diverse fields.
Later in Section I we will develop a framework for thinking about civic intelligence, starting with a look at the constituents of intelligence and how they relate to group intelligence (Intelligence in Individuals and Groups). This will be followed by a look at how civic intelligence plays out in the many fields it is found, with a focus on developing useful models for understanding (Approaches to Civic Intelligence).
What do we mean by civic?
In America's form of representative democracy the term civic is usually contextualized as relating to citizenship and voting -- it is not incorporated into the act of living in civic settings. The idea of rugged individualism that has been a part of the American psyche since its inception makes thinking of ourselves as intertwined with the lives of our neighbors almost antithetical to our cultural identity. In most industrialized nations where the ever expanding reach of global corporatism has built up huge urban centers the sense of civic duty to make the places where we live equitable and hospitable for all is not something often felt.
Smaller cities and towns may have a more focused sense of community. But, the very structure of the civic bodies of today lends its self to the challenges of poverty, crime, unemployment, and the host of other issues we address with institutionalized social services. When we talk about civic intelligence we are talking about integrating all aspects of living in community that requires the application of the mental faculties which gave homo sapiens the advantage to evolve into the species that would overcome the challenges of life on the early plains of Africa and spread across the globe.
Humans have always been social organisms. It is our ability to apply our intelligence and harness the power of group dynamics that has lead us through history to the state we find ourselves in now. And, it will be returning to the understanding of our dependence on one another working together that will allow us to solve the many challenges modern life confronts us with.