Thoughts on Street Science

From civicintelligence

Based on the insights of these two chapters ([1] and [2]), briefly discuss how they are applicable to the topic of your individual paper, the CIRAL project, or any other example of civic intelligence we've discussed in class or that you've heard about elsewhere.

Response to Chapter 6: The Mapping of Local Knowledge

As a “crucial tool for community members,” I think that a community mapping project could influence the public awareness of any community, particularly here in Olympia where participants of the Occupation could use a more effective model for communicating their views on the various issues (both local and national) -that they wish to address. I think a good approach would be to start small with a “street survey” of the area asking for community inquiries, concerns, experiences and any additional input willingly given and based on one's personal or shared perceptions. By accumulating this pool of informal data, members of the occupation and of the overall community could start piecing together their common struggles and by emphasizing the redundancies, could begin to render a “cumulative burden” map. I think with the completion and distribution of such a map an “identity formulation” would slowly take place as a supplement for how demonstrators and occupiers already identify themselves as part of this social movement. However, the boundary between politician's and the supporters of this map and the occupation would surely be reinforced, and I'm not sure whether this would have a positive or negative effect on their efforts. Regardless, I think the resulting “aggregation” of “street science” would have a positive effect on the community, especially if a large body of the public were willing to contribute to this map's design components, use of symbols, context, content, “strategic frame” and revisions of text. Overall, I think this use/interpretation of map-making could serve to visually inform the community members of Olympia, and to organize their attention toward the economic and social issues at hand which the Occupation is striving to address. Cogdev07 16:35, 15 November 2011 (PST)

A core piece that stood out to me is bridging between professionalism and communities. I think the method of harnessing local knowledge that Street Science outlines is a strong tool for bringing out civic intelligence. The tricky piece seems to be framing (there's that darn word again) the information collected through this method in a way that achieves acceptance of findings outside the local community.

I see one of the challenges of civic intelligence as breaking down the idea that professionals are somehow more credible than ordinary citizens. This is a cultural meme with deep roots. Citizen science seems like a great way to eat away at this disempowering idea. When local knowledge is gathered in a way that is relevant to issues professionals overlook due to business interest, oversight, or lack of understanding of local issues, it builds the credibility of civic intelligence. The trick is in the integrity of the process and framing of results (okay I was wrong about framing).

Onemic18 01:44, 16 November 2011 (PST)

I agree completely with the importance of breaking down the superiority of "professionals". I think this can be seen in the "The Garden" where very few of the people in power even attempted to understand the cultural needs of the South Central Farmers, even the few who shared a cultural background with the farmers. For them, farming not only provided food, but a sense of pride in themselves and their work. If the people in power had been more willing to understand this concept and work with them around it, I think the outcome could have been more favorable for everyone involved.

As far as the section on mapping, I think it can be an extremely useful tool, but may not have as broad a range of usefulness. I think for situations like pollution in poor neighborhoods, it can be an extremely powerful way of raising awareness for a cause. However, I'm having a hard time finding useful applications of the mapping techniques for many of the other causes we've looked at, and in my individual project. In a broader sense, I think marketing is important for these causes, and that mapping can be a good way of marketing when applicable. In that sense, I think it's important to spread the word about the causes we've looked at, and that if mapping makes sense for them, that that may be a good way of getting the word out.

--Stenic13 13:56, 16 November 2011 (PST)

I'm unsure how a community mapping project could really tie in to Mosaic Coffeehouse. As it's just a non-profit coffee place, I really can't see much of a connection at all.

Now on the other hand, community mapping and street science are both very relevant to CIRAL, definitely the street science part of it. The processes behind mapping would be very useful for the research portion of CIRAL and would help to coordinate the action half into more needy/productive areas. Whether or not CIRAL could benefit from an actual map itself, I'm not positive but signs point to probably.

--Petbri11 03:50, 16 November 2011 (PST)

Professionalism and professionals arise out of a rigorous study of empirical knowledge. This empirical approach has been an existing force in the development of society and as a major influence in what the people "choose" to be legitimate. The opposite of this, or better said, the other side of the coin, is cultural and folk knowledge. Just like science, folk knowledge, is the aggregate of many people contributing to a whole.

Despite folk knowledge existing for much longer than empirical approaches, it has the stigma of being doubtable and easily disregarded. I feel that much of this folk knowledge, while expressed or applied in ways that can appear esoteric, have an overall undercurrent of truth. I say this because I do not see it in human nature for people to continually subscribe to a knowledge, practice, and/or tradition if the result of that practice does not yields anything at all.

Folk knowledge seems to be the manifestation of the field of science that is still unexplainable or too dynamic to quantify with modern approaches. Street science seems to be the method of uncovering and synthesizing many perspectives into one.


p177 The Maps topic relates to Strategic Frames (pattern), and it is very important for Civic Intelligence to include awareness of the many frames we are all exposed to, so that there is choice about including some or all of those frames with in the collective's Strategic Frame.

p180 Commonality in adversity unites disparate groups. “We all breathe the same air” -Luis Garden-Acosta “We were facing the incinerator, lead poisoning, garbage transfer stations, chemicals from abandoned factories around here, sandblasting from the bridge and Radiac. We had to come together” -Rabbi Niederman

p186 community GIS map results "According to Heather Roslund, an activist with Neighbors Against Garbage (NAG), the map was significant because: It gave us legitimacy. We not only gave our testimony, but we showed them [DEC and DOS] that we also did our homework and had technical skills. The community maps showed that we were not just about NIMBY, but that this was a much larger issue about environmental hazards and social justice. We showed that we were prepared and could go head-to-head with the city, state and even a big corporation like USA Waste."

-- local community mapping vs professional mapping and who it best communicates to

In communicating with Civic Intelligence, as always, the more each entity knows itself and the others, the more effective the resulting communication.

The thing about the Stree Science article that I found the most interesting was when it was talking about mapping, what maps do and the part about aggregation. "The maps and images that are used as standard ways of seeing a problem tell us whose vision matters, what should be rendered visible and what should be made invisible." I found myself connecting this issue with gentrification. The remapping of places and making visible the issues of certain populations and almost invalidationg those of another population. I agree with Harley on mapping being a politcal process. Certain groups being targeted for certain political issues based on where they are located and those who are forgotten in political issues based on where they are not located.

--toteri19 1730, 16 November 2011 (PST)