Research outline

I am starting formal research about the community aspect of peduncle. Something about the end of expertise in a context of managing urban resources in a sociology of risk. I felt stuck so I wrote all the little things that I consider important on sticky notes and tried to group them. This is a first pass at the story that emerges.

Core values: curiosity, ethic of care, end of expertise, scenius (genius of scenes), interfaces, spaces between (outside and within), plurality?

The big “Why”

End of expertise: a response to blind spots of traditional expertise and authority.

Using the sociology of risk, how can we help people respond to a changing climate, and changing social norms?

I want to learn how to facilitate responsible critical thinking at scale.

I want to find new ways to establish trust and develop expertise as a collective, through an ethic of care.

Part of this is legitimising grass-roots decision-making, which may re-imagine what democracy means.

The big “What”: the specific focus of the project

The short answer is how people interact with, and act on, the data visualisation of urban resource management.

How can the virtual world (/ digital public spheres?) influence and improve our relationship with the real world? Specifically for this project, what is the governance component of that? How do we ACT at grassroots level, at scale (a global collective of villages), at best in collaboration with traditional government, but if needs, in spite of them, but responsibly, accountably and with an ethic of care.

Supported by structured, data-driven decision-making.

Expected outcome: Find the specifications for the design of the community aspect of the “platform”


Types of democracy

How it is changing with digital participation?
Is this even relevant? Because at a global level such a platform cannot force any one type of democracy model. More relevant is how they interact and collaborate

What does/should tech-enabled democracy (or the next thing) looked like? – Zizi P.
Thoughts on digital nationhood or a global digital union (but this is not local/urban, this is trans-national, not relevant to this study)

Networked Public spheres

There are considerable differences regarding how the public sphere should function. These different perspectives can be divided into the liberal, deliberative, and participatory (or radical pluralist) schools (Ferree et al., 2002a; Jandura & Friedrich, 2014).

Is it still relevant, and how does digital play into this?
Does it still effectively exist in the digital era (should it?)
Is it representative?
What is the risk of platformisation, and how can it be designed to be better?

Key question: Different, interconnected sub-publics? “clusters of villages” (Pascal, Jungherr & Schroeder, 2022).

Soft power, influencers, curators

The paradox is that it is not possible or desired for everyone to participate directly in democracy, even if it could be technically possible.

Affordances, the relationship between technology and users

Digital literacy, privilege

Knowledge politics (Stehr 2005)

Algorithms, personalisation, moderation to balance informing and satisfaction

Hence the influence, trust, reputation of people with “soft power” will always be critical. How do we design for them to have appropriate reach and still be accountable? How do we make sure their views can be supported by the relevant data that is easily accessible and can be interrogated, by everyone?


Horizontal, Vertical and Digital (there were at least two groupings that fit this, find them)

Components of organising: Membership, hierarchy, rules, monitoring, sanctions

Quality of communication: popular inclusion and empowerment, mutual respect, reciprocity and responsiveness, turning communication into appropriate action

Social heterogeneity in public communication require accessibility, visibility, persistence and searchability, modularity and adjacency, scalability and connectivity (which allow the amplification of attention), brevity, immediacy, and interactivity of communication, and the (social) identifiability (anonymity) of the end-users.

stimulate “actions that tend to have a low level of effort”

Appropriate scale, subsidiarity (this concludes with why the focus on local governance)

Identity/Trust: Credibility, reliability, intimacy, self-orientation, time.

Ecological governance

Lessons from the sharing economy

Is there a schism between government and civic interaction? Traditionally the media was the in-between communicating between these players. But in the same way that Business-to-Consumer (B2C) has been complemented by peer-to-peer interactions, at a local level, at least, citizens are expressing desire to govern more directly (Kenyan book, and the populist libertarian movements)

Urban governance

The response of local people to e.g. ride-sharing transgressions and airbnb related housing crises at a more immediate timescale showed the need for stronger local governance.

Needed trusted micro-decisions, micro-interventions, supported by legislature and challenging legislature – Radical institutional critique (more agency than simply voting)

Municipalities lack the institutional mechanisms of collaboration (Sahamies et al 2022)

Localness as an ethic of care: curiosity and scenius (the genius of a scene). Can we build connection and encourage scenius?

Do digital twins have the potential to be considered digital public spheres? If yes, what are critical components to design for, and if not what are the pitfalls?


Literature case studies, placing this project into context, urban design, urban mobility, urban resource flows (for example urban waste, wastewater and flood/crisis management)

Examples of digital public spheres

Evaluate literature studies, look at current examples of digital-enabled governance – Mastodon analyses, DAOs… construct a hypothesis, then build it, then do a pilot with a few selected small communities e.g. Oro (Denmark), ….

Evaluate existing tools, the value of FOSS, 3D to visualise complexity, the potential role of AI in data management and moderation, structured data (SOLID), gamification.

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