Lean urbanism: getting over Big Civic.

City scene - children playing in a fountain
Image courtesy of Knight Foundation on flickr. click to find the original

The Knight Foundation is an American organisation which funds innovation around the internet, news organisations and civic change. They have funded many experiments in hyperlocal media. Here they write about there support for Lean urbanism…

“Big Civic” is disappearing. The days when CEO roundtables, mayors for life or a few big foundations were the primary makers in our cities have passed. Now, getting more people into city-building is fundamental to making communities that work for the 21st century. Making cities today is all about robust engagement of a lot of people, not just a few.

That’s why we were immediately enthusiastic when celebrated architect Andres Duany approached Knight Foundation with his plans for “Lean Urbanism.” It is all about making small possible in our communities.

As a movement it could be thought of as at odds with the idea of data driven civic platforms which helps manage the city as a singe system – or a collection of systems. But do they really conflict? More data is inevitable – and if it sometimes gives us the power to know and act more locally, that is partly where small and big overlap. See also Rick Robinson on Little/big.

I first posted this on the Birmingham Smart City blog.