Today I attended a few of the Cidadania 2.0 conference (that's Citizenship 2.0), making a few runs to the office to get some working going. This is a one day event that promotes the debate around a participatory society, bringing in people from the public, private and, of course, citizens who already actively participate and hear their stories under the digital / internet context. I'm unsure we'll have access to the video recordings of the sessions, so I'll quickly write a few notes while the memory doesn't fade away :).
This is a Brazilian based project done by WebCitizen and presented by Fernando Barreto, a co-founder. The website's purpose is to present the Brazilian Congress proposals, make a Human Readable Summary, give you some metadata - who proposed it, what sort of proposal, when it was proposed, etc - and allow you, the website user, to comment and vote Yes or No on the proposal. When the actual voting is done by the congress the data gets updated and you can compare the "people's" choice with the actual politicians. It also gives you with information about each politician, what they proposed, how they voted AND, based on your choices, it shows your affinity to individual politicians.
I really like the visualization and the work they into changing the language used in the proposals to a more readable form - laws act like their done so a machine can read then, but it's made by humans for humans, they should be clear, not faux algorithmic. The geographic distribution of voters is interesting, even if I'm naturally put of by the comments, not so much for the popular voting (even if it really doesn't tells us much - it's pure voting, lacks representation and other tools to be meaningful), but even if it does mean Trolls will have a field day if they choose to, it DOES motivate people to participate and be more aware of what's going on and what's being decided and, for really interested politicians (or just smart ones) it's a source of information regarding people's opinion - and yes, the comments might even bring contextual information to individual bills if used correctly.
It actually runs relatively low numbers, I think they talked about 20k votes, for a country as big as Brazil it's a very small number, but it has room to grow, and it sure deserves the praise.
I MISSED THIS ONE, I'm hoping the video is made available - it was a skype call too :) - but I still want to share the website as it seems like a very very interesting project.
Landshare brings together people who have a passion for home-grown food, connecting those who have land to share with those who need land for cultivating food. Since its launch through River Cottage in 2009 it has grown into a thriving community of more than 55,000 growers, sharers and helpers.
It’s for people who:
- Want to grow their own fruit and veg but don’t have anywhere to do it
- Have a spare bit of land they’re prepared to share
- Can help in some way – from sharing knowledge and lending tools to helping out on the plot itself
- Support the idea of freeing up more land for growing
- Are already growing and want to join in the community
It began with the tiny seed of an idea – and it’s growing and growing.
This is the sort of thing that really gets to me, since starting to buy my vegetables fresh from the earth's mouth (so to speak) directly through local producers and recognizing the enormous difference in quality and flavor from the Supermarket version, and relearning about the seasons for vegetables and fruits (365 cultures - not that great) that local grown products have gained importance for me. The fact that these guys provide a platform for people who want to provide the labor can use the land other people have and are willing to facilitate makes perfect sense and will make more sense in the near future, with all the turmoil the World finds itself in. I'll want to review the site and possibly the session video, but I wanted to bookmark it here, for future memory :)