Diigo Bookmarks 05/04/2008 (a.m.)

by Yule Heibel on May 3, 2008

  • Britt Blaser coins the compelling term “collaboration mall.” I left a long comment on April 28, but it appears stuck in moderation or has been deleted. Here’s what I wrote:

    Thank-you for using my comment as a jumping off point to a thought-provoking blog entry here, Britt! (And I hope I didn’t sound as ‘despairing’ as all that — my despair, such as it is, stems as often as not from the fossilized pace of local governance here. Other than that, I’m a pretty optimistic, happy-go-lucky person, which is probably why I’m ready to stumble into pre-existing conversations! …Like, duh Yule: one quick google search could have told me that you, Britt, have been talking about open source government for …well, for a while.)

    But on to your post: I really like your descriptive term, “collaboration mall.” As a city person (and yeah, Victoria is a smaller city, but it’s pretty dense and urban and walkable), I’m of course loathe to admit that the suburbs might be places that produce appropriate symbols (“mall”) for civitas / civic life. But I can remind myself that in the 1920s Walter Benjamin wrote about 19th century Parisian arcades as localities of social meaning (and manufacture of meaning) — and what were the arcades but urban forerunners of suburban malls?

    I’d say that the urban street is still more democratic/ porous/ open, if only because it really is public space, vs. private or semi-private. But the mall can bring together all sorts of different (including “regular”) people, and it’s a great term (compared to “street”) because it acknowledges the reality of markets, fees for services, settings for enterprise, and consumer platforms.

    I’m at the very beginning of trying to create a community aggregator type service here, and your suggestion of a “collaboration mall” is intriguing. Just as with Doc’s entry on infrastructure, I find it helps my thinking when one (physical) thing typically seen in one context is transposed into another (more abstract) context. Till now, I was thinking for example of “public space” (physical) and how that manifests online (abstract). But narrowing that space to a mall brings things into better focus.

    tags: infrastructure, britt_blaser, collaboration_mall

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