Friday, May 19, 2006

Cyberplanning & Virtual Community Development?!

So, I came across this article as the result of a Google Alert on light: A Red-Light District in the Comfort of My Own Home. I think American society is more influenced by childhood games like Red Light, Green Light than we might care to admit, for articles about "red-light" cameras and organizations getting the "green light" to move forward with some plan or other are quite pervasive. Just as I was ready to hit the delete key, however, I caught a glimpse of the annotation of the article and decided to give it a closer look. I was struck by the following ideas:

1) The "mapping" of cyberspace to the physical geography of a community. Sometimes I think we view them as completely separate, not recognizing how much our experiences in the physical world influence our expectations for and interactions with one another in the virtual one.

2) The issues the article raises regarding the growth and development of cybercommunities. Can you imagine a degree in "cyberplanning and virtual community development?" That is what reading this article evoked for me and it seems rather plausible in a weird sort of way!

3) How deeply entwined everything is with policy and how many questions about it are implied by this article. Who influences policy the most? Who makes final decisions about it? How many of the decisions surrounding policy are made behind closed doors before an issue even becomes a public one? Can the population at large really move policy in a particular direction? How much "public" would that take?

4) What makes the author think that a new "community of shadows" won't spring up in the "dark alleys and sewers" of the xxx district if it were created? People who wish to avoid scrutiny aren't necessarily going to hang out in the "approved for loitering" areas of a community!

5) The psychology implicit throughout this article is especially intriguing.

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