Something old, something new

A complete cycle of blog post, chapter, article in Journal of Information Technology and Politics for the concept of skeptical citizenship–exciting day!

And, really completing the circle of life aspect of academia: now for an official sharing of a major new research agenda. My colleague Eric Gordon and I have written a document to describe our ongoing collaborative work with the City of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics—affectionately known as the Design Action Research in Government project. Broadly, our goals are:

  • Develop tools that both increase participation and (more importantly) move civic engagement from a merely transactional process with government to one that is interactive.
  • Engage in design-based iterative research that informs the creation of new civic tools, studies their outcome in nuanced ways that can get at deeper engagement, and use those findings to iterate and improve the tools themselves.
  • Develop collaborative relationships between government and stakeholders that provide locally-productive solutions and open the civic process to new and different groups.

We’re undertaking specific projects to get at research questions around what we call “networked citizenship”–which investigates social/poltiical relationships, collective efficacy, long-term sustained engagement, and institutional and social trust to name a few things.

If that teaser got you excited to see some specific tools and research questions we’re looking at (and you didn’t click through before), Eric’s blog has the full write-up (it’s a two-parter, even—we’ve been busy!). We sure think it’s worth checking out, so I’d recommend heading over there. (If this were the Lion King, it’d be the part where we put fruit on Simba’s head, so you probably shouldn’t miss out).

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