[Freegis-list] RE: [Liftoff] Global "local" placenames database
adrian.norman at adminet.co.uk
Thu Jun 23 16:54:23 CEST 2005
I fear this will not work in the UK, much though I wish it might be
There is no logical mapping of the following terms onto each other:
"Where they live"
The concept of "number of people in the same community" cannot be
deduced from the addresses of people, not least because many of us live
in one place, work in another and play in a third.
In my rural village where I pay property taxes, the most critical local
issue is regeneration following the demise of the hunting industry. The
hunting community spreads across county and national park boundaries
which are not coterminous with political boundaries.
The outcome of EU and G8 discussions on support for agriculture is a
global matter with acute consequences for rural livelihoods. Affordable
housing is a national issue affecting local folk through centrally
mandated zoning regulations.
Rural transport ties in with access to education and health services
which are national and regional, affecting a community focussed on the
nearest towns. Bus and train users are a community spread over 300
square miles whose service providers operate nationally and regionally,
not locally. Broadband telecommunications and mobile phone coverage are
a local issue only for those who do not have service from national
suppliers. Roads are a county issue; policing covers two counties; post
offices, village shops, banks and pubs are critical local matters where
closure decisions may be national.
And so it goes on. Most of us belong to many communities which are not
the same as neighbourhoods. Each such community has issues, some of
which can be addressed by active citizens. But the dominance of national
politics and commerce over local affairs in this country means that
national action is usually necessary. No amount of local action would
save Newham from the 2012 Olympics or ensure their success; nor could
local action have saved hunting on Exmoor.
The Americans established the primacy of local democracy in a
constitution which reflected 18th century communities; few except
deep-sea sailors and trappers travelled far to work or play. That
constitution has protected local democracy for two centuries, making
active participation worthwhile and providing fertile soil for the
growth of e-democracy. For the British, the issue tends to be more
important than the place.
From: Steven Clift [mailto:slc at publicus.net]
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 5:27 PM
To: freegis-list at intevation.de
Cc: team at e-democracy.org; dan at groupsense.net; richard at iopen.net;
liftoff at forums.e-democracy.org
Subject: [Liftoff] Global "local" placenames database
Posted to: freegis-list at intevation.de
Is there a good source?
E-Democracy.Org is considering a "Global Campaign for Local Democracy"
petition of sorts where people can state:
1. Their Name
2. Their e-mail
3. Where they live
4. Check a box that says "Yes, I want to discuss local issues with
neighbors in my community."
5. Tell a friend
This will enable us expand our support for active citizens interested in
starting local "Issues Forums" - see http://e-democracy.org/uk for our
guidebook and more.
We'd probably tie the placename database into our use of the new open
source GroupServer tool http://e-democracy.org/groupserver and when X
number of people in the same community sign up, our system will provide
them a Meetup.com-like chance to meet in person to start work on
creating an local issues forum. Our sustainable model requires a
volunteer forum manager and 100 people before a forum is open. With a
development system in place, we will be able to scale by better
targeting our support to communities with interest that we previously
knew little about.
Any suggestions or ideas?
Board Chair, E-Democracy.Org
Steven Clift - http://publicus.net - Reply to: clift at publicus.net
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