Today marks the publication of a new book by Laurenellen McCann: Experimental Modes of Civic Engagement in Civic Tech: Meeting people where they are. Here’s my preface:
Experimental Modes of Civic Engagement in Civic Tech is an investigation into what it means to build civic tech with, not for. It answers the question, “What’s the difference between sentiment and action?”
The project was led by Laurenellen McCann, and it deepens her work in needs-responsive, community-driven processes for creating technology with real people and real communities for public good.
This project falls under Smart Chicago’s work on the Knight Community Information Challenge grant awarded under their Engaged Communities strategy to the Chicago Community Trust “as it builds on its successful Smart Chicago Project, which is taking open government resources directly into neighborhoods through a variety of civic-minded apps.”
This book is a compendium of writing by Laurenellen, originally published on the Smart Chicago blog. I’m excited about this project because it supports so many important nodes for Smart Chicago:
- Keeping the focus on people and communities rather than technology. We are leading creators of civic tech, and we publish a lot of software. It’s people and impact we care about.
- Driving toward a shared language around the work. There is a lot of enthusiasm for “people” in our space right now. This project sharpens pencils and will put definition to the work.
- Highlighting the workers: communities are doing this work and doing it right. We seek to lift them up and spread their methods.
Smart Chicago is utterly devoted to being of impact here in Chicago. As our work progresses, we see the opportunity to have influence all over. This project, rooted in the Chicago Community Trust, funded by The Trust and the Knight Foundation, executed by a leading thinker in the field, is one way we’re doing just that.