Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A civic connection for local kids?

Does it actually work if you just try talking with kids? We found this post on Springwise and thought Windsorites may be interested in learning how other communities are dealing with their "kid" problems.

There are plenty of government-run websites aimed at collecting feedback and generating involvement among residents of a particular city or town, but we hadn’t seen many aimed directly at local youth until we came across Derby KidzTalk. Operated by Derby Homes, a non-profit property management organization established by the Derby City Council, the site is geared toward kids between 9 and 16 living in Derby (just west of Nottingham, UK), offering them local information and ways to express concerns and get involved.

The site was originally motivated by a government requirement that Derby Homes involve users in the development of its services. "We are expected to include everyone—young and old, representing the broad spectrum of ethnicity—and this site helps us talk to young people who don't really like coming to formal meetings that adults feel more comfortable with," explains Mark Crown, tenant involvement manager for Derby Homes.

But Derby KidzTalk quickly took off beyond Derby Homes' expectations, reaching 80 registered users and 3,000 hits per month soon after its launch earlier this year. "KidzTalk is bigger than we anticipated for what was a step in the dark," Crown explains. The company is now scrambling to create a marketing plan and approaching other social landlords about the possibility of sharing and co-funding the site. It's also considering selling the format to other organizations.

Our advice? Add 2.0 functionalities as featured in our posts on
Love Lewisham, Amsterdam’s Google Maps mashup and Neighbourhood Fix-It. Take a playful approach to civic awareness by creating scavenger hunts with an online component: find a broken streetlight, report a pothole, etc.


Josh Biggley said...

Looking back, I realize that many of my views, and I dare say, the majority of my views of the world, were set when I was a youth. If we really want to change the world, we need to change the children and their views of the world they live in and the future that they hold in their hands.

The question now becomes, how do we push this forward in Windsor? I reject any idea of pandering to our youth -- I think that is how we got into this mess. The question, I think, is how do we engage them in a process that is designed to exclude those who don't know procedures of the process?

Doesn't Windsor have a youth shadow council or something similar? Hmmm --- let me go snooping.

Josh Biggley said...

That was easy -- check out this link.

Anonymous said...

We don't give area youth enough credit. Sure, there are some bad apples, but show me an age group that DOESN'T have bad apples and I'll call you delusional.

We need to engage our youth and give them a REAL voice. They need to feel like what they say matters. This is a tall order, though. I don't know ANYONE in Windsor - regardless of socio-economic or age bracket - that feels like what they say matters.

Whatever happened to King Eddie's youth council-thingy?

Anonymous said...

This city has sufficiently disillusioned everyone. No wonder neither the kids nor their parents really give a damn.