Jake Barton of Local Projects

Day two of the Eyeo Festival.  I was late from doing email back at the room, so I missed a bunch of the demonstration projects that Barton described for the first 15 minutes.

Jake says: The public review process is flawed.  It’s an aging system that once played a role, but now it is an artifact.  So we tried to reinvent it.

Local Projects gathered ideas online, and as they read what they received, they started getting new ideas.  It’s not about identifying the one single good idea but about creating a platform where all these good ideas can come together (hey, this sounds like what happened when I started SmartGirl.  I posted a survey online to see what kind of computer game girls wanted, and ended up building a company that posted surveys online for girls).

Jake: People have hundreds of ideas, so we threw them together, trying to move it from a crowdsourcing platform into a solution growing platform and renamed it Change By Us.  Launches in NYC in early July. You still have the ideas platform, it’s web based, text based.  Connects people who come up with ideas to the other people who have the same ideas.

They are partnering with Code For America to add some features and roll it out in Philadelphia, and ultimately by fall the project will go open source for other cities to get involved (Hey Sam and Lani! Tell Beacon!).

So we won the competition for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.  The process was very challenging.   We were warned – no matter what you design, a lot of people are going to hate it.  But nevertheless, we were told to shoot for the moon.  We have a way to interact with the general public.  It’s important that you make a museum for the ages.   9/11 isn’t quite history yet, all the books have not been written, the related events like Bin Laden’s death are still occurring.  We developed an algorithm with Jer Thorp to lay out the names.  We focused on the idea of collective memory and sharing it with the world as a form of storytelling.  How do you make it speak to “both sides” – people who lost spouses or people who know nothing about it?  It’s a listening museum, a space of dialogue and even debate around the event.  The memorial exhibition archive lets people who know a victim contribute memories, photos, recordings, texts, which will be used in the exhibition.  The first museum which by design is meant to continuously expand based on visitation.  It’s in some ways the definition of Web 2.0.  As more people come, the better the museum itself will become.

They have a photo exhibit that shows what things look like today and layers photos over it that were taken during the 9/11 aftermath.  They have an interactive booth where you locate yourself where you were on the map during 9/11 and tell your story.  They have an iphone app that’s a walking tour around the site.

Barton then played a bunch of pictures and audio about the day of the disaster and as usually I totally broke down with grief and anger which fortunately resulted in a nice conversation with my seatmates.  I’ll put some links in here and proofread it when I get a chance.