official-ballot-box-maine.jpgOn January 11, 2005 I started a wiki entitled BeyondVoting. The intent was to explore how the many new governance tools being experimented with around the world might help improve governance here in NYC. First I created a wiki-home page where I introduced the subject. Next I created and linked to a New Tools for Democracy page with the intent of providing a space where the city’s “governance community” (an exclusive club that includes all city residents) might review these new developments, gathered from around the world, and decide which of these creative initiatives might be worth trying in our wonderful city.

After some development time, it dawned on me that it would be helpful to match specific local governance limitations with these “New Tools” and, giving it a positive spin, began an Opportunities for Change page. I focused on Community Boards, a domain I was particularly familiar with having been an active Community Board member for 12 years at that point. That page soon grew to have 30 “Opportunities,” and somewhere along the way of matching “Tools” to “Opportunities” my optimism took a hit and I started thinking that perhaps I was going too fast; that applying these “New Tools” to Community Boards was folly; that one needs to learn to walk before one can run.

It’s been over a year since I’ve spent much time over there, and on this dreary March morning a Spring-time thought slipped through the clouds and I imagined that perhaps those visiting this Community-Based Planning blog might contribute some ideas and invigorate the now sleepy BeyondVoting wiki. Y’all welcome. (Commons photo courtesy of binkley27)

Tom Lowenhaupt