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Public Sphere Project

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An Initiative of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
  • Who participates in civic discussions?
  • What issues are on the agenda?
  • How are issues placed on the agenda?
  • How are discussion and decision-making processes conducted?
  • What are the consequences?

Information and Communication for Civic Intelligence

When it becomes a program, hopelessness paralyzes us, immobilizes us. We succumb to fatalism, and then it becomes impossible to muster the strength we absolutely need for a fierce struggle that will re-create the world. - Paulo Freire, The Pedagogy of Hope
What's New?

E-Liberate system available soon. We at CPSRs Public Sphere Project are beginning to work with groups who are interested in trying the e-Liberate online deliberation system to support actual meetings. Please indicate your interest on our form. Our hope is that non-profit groups will use e-Liberate to save time and money on travel and use the resources they save on other activities that promote their core objectives. We are enthusiastic about the system but we are well aware that the system as it stands is likely to have problems that we will need to fix. It is for that reason that we plan to host a small number of meetings over the next few months and gather feedback from attendees. After that we plan to make e-Liberate freely available for online meetings and to release the software under a free software license.

Also see Smart Enough Soon Enough? Understanding and Enhancing Society's Civic Intelligence presentation for Center for Citizen Communication and Engagement, University of Washington. I have also proposed two models -- a descriptive model and a functional model -- which may be useful to help characterize projects and ideas that demonstrate "civic intelligence."

"Another (Better) World is Possible". Thoughts on the World Social Forum in Mumbai (Bombay), India in January, 2004.

If your favorite book, article or web site isn't in our shared bibliography, please add it! We're looking for good sources of information on community networks, media critique, grassroots media, progressive technology, civic intelligence, community and social informatics, etc. etc. Thanks!

Seattle Statement.Participants at CPSR's "Shaping the Network Society" symposium drafted the "Seattle Statement" calling for new public spheres to help address societal concerns. The statement is now available in seven languages and has over 300 signatures. We invite your signature and your assistance in developing the next version of the statement. Please Sign!

Seattle IMC The Independent Media Center (1415 Third Avenue in Seattle) and its website were launched in the fall of 1999 to provide immediate, authentic, grassroots coverage of events surrounding the World Trade Organization Ministerial. Now, just two years later, the website serves as the backbone to a powerful independent communications network which continues to expand at an exhilarating rate - over 80 IMC's currently span six continents.

Reporters Without Borders is publishing the first worldwide press freedom index. The first worldwide index of press freedom has some surprises for Western democracies. The United States ranks below Costa Rica and Italy scores lower than Benin. The five countries with least press freedom are North Korea, China, Burma, Turkmenistan and Bhutan.

Why no action?!?!? Two years ago the Seattle City Council asked the Department of Administrative Services to look into the feasibility of establishing a public municipal information infrastructure. Here is a letter to Jim Compton, Seattle City Council member asking him about the fate of this resolution.

The following areas are presently in-work.
The Public Sphere Project

promotes equitable and effective use of information and communication technology;

promotes civic and community problem solving;

promotes human -- not technology -- centered approaches;

promotes appropriate local and regional tactics and strategies;

promotes integration of education, research, technology development, policy and activism; and

promotes collaboration with individuals and organizations all over the world.

The Public Sphere Project is an initiative of
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility

Updated June 22, 2004

Archived CPSR Information
Created before October 2004

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International Chapters -

> Canada
> Japan
> Peru
> Spain

USA Chapters -

> Chicago, IL
> Pittsburgh, PA
> San Francisco Bay Area
> Seattle, WA
Why did you join CPSR?

I feel I must do something to justify being in this field