"On Friday 11th February 2011, the Coalition Government published the Protection of Freedoms Bill. ... Some of the measures came from the 14,000 ideas left on the Your Freedom website.
The Government is committed to continuing this public engagement with the content of the Protection of Freedoms Bill. This website gives you the opportunity to comment on each clause contained in the Bill. Your comments will get collated at the end of this public consultation and fed through directly to the Parliamentarians who will carry the Bill through the House of Commons (go to the Parliament website to learn about the passage of a bill). These comments will assist and challenge MPs, aiding their scrutiny and debate on the details of the Bill. This is a pilot for the 'public reading stage' that the Government wants to introduce to give the public an increased say in all bills"
(UK Cabinet Office, 2011)
"Efforts to improve political engagement don't come much bigger than the work done by AmericaSpeaks.org, which has set itself a mission to 'reinvigorate American democracy by engaging citizens in the public decision-making that most impacts their lives'.
One of its recent efforts was a 'national town meeting' to discuss ways of dealing with America's federal budget deficit. It saw 3,500 Americans gathered at 57 sites across the country on June 26, 2010.
Participants from a range of social and political backgrounds debated 42 options for closing the deficit (a report to Congress is available), and at the end of the day 91 per cent said they were 'very satisfied' or 'satisfied' with the tone and quality of the discussion.
And in an interesting result that shows the value of deliberation and discussion, only 15 per cent said their views were not at all influenced by others and just three per cent said they did not learn anything during the meeting."
(eDemocracyBlog.com, 7 December 2010)
"The post modern city is experienced as a sequence of several images overlapping and evolving through different scales of space and time (Watson and Gibson 1995). Through the cognitive images of different layers and elements of spatiality, it is possible to perceive the disorder of post modern cities. A fruitful avenue of exploration may well lie in attempting to reveal the unconscious mental mapping and cognitive imaging that people use to construct the city. In so doing this paper attempts to deconstruct or reveal the dense intersection of various cultural practices within public spaces, regarded as offering social meanings whether these coalesce or compete. Such public spaces are both a primary means by which social networks are enacted, and a metaphor for the spatial relationships within city fabric.
Viewing the city through a deconstructive lens, it is possible to see the multiple manifestations of consumption of the post modern city fabric that enact a variety of (re)constructed identities (Fahmi and Howe 2000). The current paper introduces an urban experiment that proposes a (hypothological) city as an open framework of shared grounds/ownership. It includes built and unbuilt schemes as inserted within the fabric of the city, as influenced by history, human experience and contemporary culture. The article however examines the metaphors of space and being as manifest in the rhetoric of virtuality and materializes in real environments. It does so by looking firstly at precedents in the post modern built and media environment which have helped establish a discourse of immateriality upon which the rhetoric of virtuality depends; secondly, at the neo-futurist mechanisms which support the idea of an imaginative space in virtual environments; thirdly, at the appropriation of architectural metaphors that concretize and represent the spatial metaphor. The paper concludes by considering a number of conflicting forces that when initially encountered resisted the subversive rhythms of deconstructivism that challenge the normal stable institutionalized construction of space.
In the information-knowledge culture, existing urban order is being replaced by highly complex new networks. Therefore there is a need to deconstruct the contested (post)modern city, with the current paper aiming to examine the fragmented multi-layered nature of public spaces in an attempt to emphasize the nature and institutionalization of post modern spaces. The examination of such fragmented urban patterns will try to unravel the contested nature of sequential images and overlapping layers of events as they emerge in people's daily interaction, with such social relations being mobilized through public spaces. Such spaces could nonetheless represent the (re) (de) construction of identities with new urban spaces signifying a focus for fragmentation and proliferation of social patterns which are contested and juxtaposed in post modern cities.
Since the post modern city is based on the concept of disintegration of real space in virtuality, a development of new ways of looking at spatiality is needed, with emphasis being made on the changing notion of expression of identity. This latter is however developing in all directions at the same time as a result of new technology, new media environment, and new economy. The disappearance of nation states and emergence of regions will eventually lead to a restructuring of frame of reference (Fahmi, 2000a). In understanding the role of contemporary urban public life it is essential to identify certain aspects which reflect the diversity of the post modern society. Proshansky, Ittelson and Rivlin (1970) emphasized the significance of freedom of choice within public spaces where aspects of privacy, territoriality and avoidance of sense of crowding prevail. If people are involved in the location, design and management of local public spaces they are inclined to negotiate with rules of social interaction, with boundaries of public and private life being blurred (Altman 1975). Following Lefebvre (1991), we see that spaces are conceived as material in the form of design of space, as symbolized in the media and folklore history, and as imagined in the minds of planners, designers and politicians.
Furthermore, Fadd and Jiron (1999) mentioned environmental qualities which involved the representation of various social, cultural and ethnic groups encompassed in the society, with each locating appropriate places. Therefore balancing people's spatial rights (Lynch 1981) or rights of action is a complex task, with public spaces being likely to have heterogeneous population performing different activities at different times. Urban public spaces can facilitate the creation of invisible networks of contacts which weave together the fabric of people-places relationships. On a cognitive level this assists in creating legible cities (Lynch 1960), with the ability to enhance images and memories of places, and to contribute to identities of people. These are components of place identity which can enrich urban life, and make the anonymous city comprehensible, familiar and manageable, whilst meeting users' needs."
(Dr Wael Salah Fahmi, 2001)
Dana Cuff (University of California)
The term public sphere is necessary to a discussion of embedded networks because it implies not only physical space but also the metaphorical space of public discourse, social norms, interaction, and social sentiment. I want to make a strong distinction between what has been called cyberspace from what I will call the cyburg. Cyberspace is defined as having no physicality, no matter, and no Cartesian duality because there is only the mind, and communication is the only transaction. ("Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.") If cyberspace is dematerialised space, the cyburg is spatially embodied computing, or an environment saturated with computing capability. It is the imminent stage of digital media that places computation in all things around us, from our own skin and bodies (biotechnology and nanotech medication), to our clothing, to our cars, our streets, our homes, and our wildernesses. The cyburg is the opposite of Christine Boyer's cybercity and may indeed functionally sidestep all the dystopian visions of disembodied, disengaged, socially remote cyberlife.
"On 27 October , media artist Zhang Ga and students from Parsons will debut The Peoples' Portrait: A Global Networked Public Art Project' on the world's largest digital display at the Reuters North American Headquarters in Times Square, and simultaneously in cities around the world. The Peoples' Portrait harnesses the Internet to create global portraits of a diverse range of people in their unique environments, rendered in real time and displayed instantaneously in New York, Brisbane (Australia), Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Linz (Austria), and Singapore."
(Parsons Public Relations, 25/10/2004)
Originally posted on the Whitney Museum Portal at: http://www.whitney.org/artport/gatepages/november04.shtml (this link is now dead).