Toronto 2.0 – Becoming a wired participatory polity

Peter Jones Wu Wei

Today’s Globe & Mail reports on ChangeCamp.

What is ChangeCamp? It is the application of ‘the long tail’ to public policy. It is a long-held and false assumption that ordinary citizens don’t care about public policy. The statement isn’t, of itself, false. Many, many, many people truly don’t care that much. They want to live their lives focusing on other things – pursuing other hobbies or interests. But there are many of us who do care: Public-policy geeks, fans, followers, advocates, etc… We are everywhere, we’ve just been hidden in a long tail that saw the marketplace and capacity for developing and delivering public policy restricted to a few large institutions.

We’re in the midst of the kind of change we have been seeking and organizing for years. Society appears ready to recognize the vision of activists, citizens, new media folks, and democracy philosophers. But now in our own terms of engagement. ChangeCamp is about identifying our own “user needs” for government and for creating openings and listening for our participation to matter. What happens here may happen anywhere, but there is something to the open society of the diverse, immigrant-friendly, pragmatically future-looking Toronto:

Nobody ever accused Toronto of being Silicon Valley North. But the ethos of open-ness has caught on, and it’s starting to turn Toronto into a capital of a different kind.

OK, where will we see the first ChangeCamp in the US?