Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor residents have documented dozens of development projects and documented major real estate projects of the 2000s. Additionally, they've documented the Ann Arbor Planning Commission's activities, shedding light on a process that's opaque in many cities.
Residents used the wiki to cover the August 2013 city election with information on key dates, races, and candidate positions written in a user-friendly format.
Residents used the wiki to document the Ann Arbor Greenbelt initiative, providing information on the project itself, along with information on the mechanisms used to fund the project with additional context this mechanism to others.
Three community informatics classes at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Graduate School of Library and Information Science have incorporated work on LocalWiki into their coursework. They've created content, worked on outreach, and created a guide to help others join in.
When a police officer pepper-sprayed students sitting in the UC Davis Quad on Nov. 18th, 2011, it kicked off an international media frenzy. But while the world's presses buzzed, Davis residents were busy compiling every bit of information about the event on their LocalWiki, DavisWiki. Residents created an ever-updating chronology of events; posted and analyzed photos (including the first photo of the second police officer involved, who was identified on the wiki, videos and letters; discussed and debated the events; and countered incorrect information that was rapidly circulating. Even before the event occurred, the DavisWiki had extensive pages about the UC Davis Police Department, the UC Davis Chancellor, the head of the police department, and the location of the event. With the DavisWiki, residents were able to share and learn about an important event in its full context, not just consume the latest new updates. During the week of the event, over 25,000 people visited pages on DavisWiki related to the pepper spraying, and the page about the event was edited over 700 times by over 100 different residents. But residents didn't simply read and share online — they turned this information into real-world action, including the largest protest in the city’s history.
Oh my god it's hard to describe just how cool Davis Wiki is! Every bizarre and unique aspect of the city is covered including town characters, mysterious places, everyday phenomena, just random pets, night, all kinds of knowledge passed down among PhD students in the UC Davis Entomology department, senseless acts of beauty,
Prompted by work done around the case of Helema Buzayan, a young Muslim student who was possibly the victim of racial profiling, the Davis City Council awarded a community engagement award to Davis Wiki. In the City Council's resolution, they state "The Davis Wiki provides a free, public forum for all to use and update, giving community members the opportunity to speak out against civic inequality and to support positive social movements within Davis."
Because the entire Davis Muncipal Code was posted on the Davis Wiki, residents uncovered an "annoying persons" law and successfully petitioned the City Council to have it removed.
Residents have documented and affected the outcomes of a number of planned city projects and initiatives. Here are a few examples:
- Residents engaged in the planning and discussion of a railroad fence project, all the way from the rumor stage to the current project status. Residents planned and discussed events about the fence and showed up in large numbers at City Council meetings to speak about the plans.
- Residents documented a proposed wood burning ban from the time it was first proposed in City Council until its passage in late 2012.
- Residents engaged in planning and discussing a major redesign of a street that was well-known to be dangerous. Discussions started on the Davis Wiki a while before any official city action began.
- Citizens engaged in the planning of a high-rise parking structure in Downtown Davis, showing up in large numbers at City Council meetings to speak about the plan.
- Residents engaged in planning around whether or not to ban plastic bags in Davis.
- Residents are engaged in planning and discussion surrounding a notoriously bad major intersection.
- Residents started a discussion around banning the usage of gas-powered leaf blowers throughout Davis. The Davis Wiki page kicked off a major, ongoing dialog that has reverberated through all levels of the community.
Grand Rapids, MI
Residents have mapped every building with historical and contemporary significance.
Residents in Natori, Japan, a city that was devastated by the 2011 tsunami, are using the Natori LocalWiki to track reconstruction efforts and also promote grassroots forms of reconstruction including lantern ceremony rituals for the dead by the Tsunami and the re-planting of trees. They have also worked with community members to map out and create a community memory project to document places that were destroyed in the earthquake. Read more about their work in this blog post.
Residents in Japan have been mapping the tiny island of Izu Oshima, both adding knowledge to LocalWiki and also improving OpenStreetMap's coverage of the island. They even developed an augmented reality app based on LocalWiki and OpenStreetMap data! (There're more details in this slideshow.)
Residents have created over 400 entries on local history (probably more like 1,000, since not all historic person and historic business entries also have the history tag), much of it original archival research published directly to the Oakland LocalWiki. A lot of the topics covered include histories that are often unwritten and marginalized, including histories of Chicano and African American grassroots activism. Oakland volunteers also held a number of in-person editathons in early 2013 in the Oakland History Room (the official City archive) which is currently non-circulating and mostly undigitized. Volunteers digitized and publicized work that would otherwise be inaccessible to most of the world.
Residents regularly use the wiki to track the progress of a number of proposed city council measures and initiatives and organize directly on the wiki by providing information about upcoming meetings, etc. Examples include documenting a planned surveillance center (the Oakland LocalWiki was the first is now the most complete source of information about the surveillance center and almost certainly acted as the primary source for an article on the issue in the New York TImes.), planned dog park, and many more.
An entirely internet-native unorganized City Council livetweet group is using the wiki to plan a grassroots-run candidate debate on twitter as part of their activities relating to documenting 2014 mayoral elections, increasing civic participation in local politics, and increasing candidate responsiveness to resident concerns.
Residents documented the typically convoluted and opaque 2013 Oakland city budgeting process. Their efforts led City Councilmember Libby Schaaf to thank them for increasing transparency and citizen awareness of city proceedings (video here).
Residents have documented and mapped over 200 murals in Oakland, some of which have since been painted over and are now only documented on the Oakland LocalWiki.
Residents have mapped the open/p2p/collaborative/free/sharing landscape in Oakland, including free/collaborative spaces, organizations, initiatives, and also knowledge (urban farming information, etc.).
A neighborhood association used the wiki to map out all the businesses in the neighborhood and is now embedding the wiki entry in their own website.
In Feb. 2014 Oakland Wiki won the Oakland Heritage Alliance's 2013-2014 Partners in Preservation Award in the Education category for all of the amazing work that wiki contributors have done documenting Oakland history.
Residents are documenting colloquial and tacit local knowledge including pet shelter slang for common breeds of strays, fluctuating trash piles, fluid neighborhood boundaries that define where the "bad" neighborhoods are, ad hoc street shrines, mystery cars, and dreams of the future of the community.
At a 2013 National Day of Civic Hacking hackathon, a team that included Chris Alfano, Faye Anderson, and Jim Connor won the Random Hacks of Kindness hackathon with an app called “What’s Going On?” which aggregates after school programs across the city. To develop a database of after school programs for their app, the team had participants add programs to Wikidelphia, Philadelphia’s LocalWiki. The list of programs is now available both via the What’s Going On? app and on Wikidelphia.
Residents have documented over 50 past, present, and planned city development projects.
Saranac Lake, NY
A small community of just over 5,000 people, the village has worked to document local history and architecture with over 6,000 entries at localwiki.org/hsl/.
The Seattle Wiki is run in conjunction with the Code for Seattle Code for America brigade and they've hacked a bunch on the LocalWiki platform, creating a ruby gem for the LocalWiki api, a node module for the LocalWiki api, a patch method for the node module request and more.
Toronto, Ontario Canada
During the Civic Workers Strike in 2009, The City of Toronto decided to turn many of the larger parks into temporary dump sites for residential garbage. That did not go over very well with residents who lived nearby. The Parks are Not Dumps! wiki page became an on-going point of reference for media, activists, neighbours and politicians.
The wiki page also helped break the news of a leaked City of Toronto document listing dozens of new parks being considered as additional temporary dump sites. Its online posting and subsequent publicity followed by public backlash likely delayed the City's decision to proceed with that decision.
Professor Steipe completed A Walk For One Bag of Garbage from the temporary residential garbage dump site inside the outdoor hockey rink in Christie Pits Park to the Transfer Station in the Portlands area.
That wisdom about turning every crisis into an opportunity was seen as Mark The Litter Guy suddenly became in demand during the entire strike.
The TorontoWiki Karaoke page is currently the city's most complete listing and helps people who sing in the shower, sing in front of strangers and friends instead.
Jane Jacobs was a self-taught Urbanist, Activist, and Public Intellectual who made Toronto her adopted home city upon leaving New York. After she passed away in 2006, the following year on her birthday weekend, her friends organized a series of neighbourhood walks lead regular everyday people.
Jane's Walks has grown from 30 walks that first year to hundreds of walks in dozens of cities around the world today. The Toronto Jane's Walk wiki page has been there from the beginning and Sponsors walks with co-listings every year since. There's even an Oakland LocalWiki Jane Jacob's Walk connection!
Triangle Area, NC
At a 2013 National Day of Civic Hacking hackathon, a team that included Luke Crouch, John Dungan, Blixa Morgan, and Patrick Forringer developed a mobile app called LocalTour which uses map and entry data from Tulsa Wiki to power self-guided tours of Tulsa.