Open Space : Open Source City-Making
Hey everyone - thanks so much for coming along to the discussion today! Please feel free to add in your notes here or other things on this topic that you'd like to discuss.
For those of you who weren't able to make it along but are interested in this topic then I'll post up a brief summary and links from the discussion here tomorrow :-)
Michael Reynolds Fri 17 Apr 2015 4:58AM
I am so into its space....looking forward to catching up to you folks.
Camia Young Sat 18 Apr 2015 8:56AM
@chloewaretini thanks for starting the group, happy to chime in on a conversation. Perhaps best started with a question, who has one they are keen to think on together?
David Cohen Sat 18 Apr 2015 8:51PM
What open processes are there we can use to attract the attention of planners to help shape cites we want to live in?
And I apologise for the outsize scope of that question.
Greg Cassel Sat 18 Apr 2015 9:06PM
I think that planners can potentially be incentivized by anything which will help them to be perceived as reasonably direct champions of the communities and people they serve. Of course, that requires a will to genuinely engage with the communities, which can become part of the city-making culture if innovators feel sufficiently supported.
David Cohen Sat 18 Apr 2015 10:52PM
My apologies - I used the wrong term. Rather than planners (who actually do the work), I was actually thinking about those who dictate policy for what they do: business and political interests.
Greg Cassel Sun 19 Apr 2015 12:39AM
Well, I think the local governments should be intimately engaged in ongoing dialogue with the local community. Neither business nor political interests should be dictating policy IMO, but of course we know that they tend to have immense (and often hidden) influence on policy choices. I think that increasingly open and accessible, comprehensible organizational structures, operations and data can reduce these problems, and foster an ongoing transformation towards genuinely democratic design.
In other words, I think that all of the general principles and practices of open government and open business will help to get cities shaped in an inclusively humanistic way. So I guess I'm giving a really generic and outsized answer to the broad question!
David Cohen Sun 19 Apr 2015 10:54PM
My major concern is when those in power overrule all those processes. How can the processes be made to "stick" to those accountable and provide a check on their power? At the moment we have no protections, such as recall legislation, in New Zealand, which might be a start.
A specific example. I live in Dunedin. A covered stadium was built here at a cost of around 240 million dollars against much expert advice and the majority of consultation input received. That all the councillors who supported the project lost their positions in the subsequent local elections would indicate the citizens didn't want it. Unfortunately, by then, the work was at a stage it couldn't be stopped without huge penalties, so the work was finished on something that is now losing a spectacular amount of money and doesn't actually add that much to the city's well being.
Michael Reynolds Mon 20 Apr 2015 1:36AM
This is a common tale in Christchurch...well at least the bit about building white elephants and ignoring the will of the citizens.
Is it an option for communities to bulk their own governance structures to make decisions about infrastructure that directly impacts their local community?
When those decisions are made then there is a korero with a municipal body to apportion land ownership via a land trust to that local community? Or something similar...?
I feel we have gotten to the point where we need to empower ourselves to the point where governance serves us rather than the other way around.
Greg Cassel Mon 20 Apr 2015 5:18PM
"That all the councillors who supported the project lost their positions in the subsequent local elections would indicate the citizens didn’t want it." -- Well, this also seems to indicate at least something of a democracy was present there. One could well follow up by investigating whether or not many of those former councillors have ended up in economic relationships with the stadium's builders. (That's a role for investigative journalism, of course; not for someone like me making a snapshot assessment of some complex issue.)
Michael Reynolds Mon 20 Apr 2015 7:52PM
I have this notion of openess and fluidity working hand in hand....our political structure, which infiltrates everything other system we have, is rigid and doesn't allow for fluid reaction.
I see localisation as a key in this discussion. Empowering local government, whatever form that takes, to have wider ranging powers seems to be a great way of creating a greater level of openess.
I really like the idea of creating cities as a commons...all land is owned by the city, leases paid pay for city services and all investment goes into productive outputs rather than land banking???
David Cohen Mon 20 Apr 2015 10:07PM
@Greg There are a number of rumours about economic relationships that I'm not going to repeat as I don't want to get sued - it hasn't really been followed up.
There was a lot of secrecy around the stadium's finance, but the real star was the ORFU, who went broke - http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/otago-rugby-saved-council-bnz-nzru-bail-out-ck-112869 - after promising to find millions of dollars in funding. And to the best of my knowledge there is still nothing in public about what the ORFU pay to use the stadium. It may be nothing.
These are all pretty good arguments for greater transparency in processes - but the council seems to be resisting because the financial statements are old and often incomplete or incomprehensible.
Last published financial statement is 2013 https://www.dunedin.govt.nz/facilities/forsyth-barr-stadium/an-explanation-of-forsyth-barr-stadium-financials-september-2013
While localisation may well be part of the answer, I'd be very wary of extending the power of local government without some kind of external protection from how easy it can be for special interests to overwhelm them.
Perhaps we need to move away the idea of seeking "consultation", which can be ignored, and seek to replace it with mandated "checks and balances" so a brake can be put on behaviour before it becomes a problem that can only be dealt with too late by an election.
PAN & BAM | Creator: Stephen Chernishov Fri 8 May 2015 10:35AM
I would say that the Council have pretty good financial statements. Dunedin City Holdings Limited makes $300,000,000+ per annum from their various companies. In my point there is little point wasting our energy critiquing, blaming and going on about a democratic fix.
The fact is that Dunedin has some core people who know how to work together, find money, use it and enjoy the benefits.
+ It's our turn now to put our sights on what we want to build, find ideas, investigate, plan, communicate, and create. Teamwork is key, and that's what this OS \ OS discussion is all about. I think part of the problem is that we have yet to grab ahold of how great, beautiful, teamwork capable and enlightened we actually are - then persevere to finish stuff...
PAN & BAM | Creator: Stephen Chernishov · Fri 17 Apr 2015 4:00AM
Some pen powered notes have also been posted with Massey design team in hall :)_