AUR.Town
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AUR.Town

To Think & Act Like Cities and Towns: the Revolutionary Potential of the Constituent Success Platform on the Internet Computer

In The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros are Fixing our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy, Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley carefully differentiate federal and state levels of government, on the one hand, and local or regional levels, on the other. It would be good to unpack each of the points of differentiation they raise, but there is one in particular that furthers our cause by explaining what “constituency” means for a city or town:

The federal and state governments think in terms of constituencies competing against one another for scarce resources and routinely practice divide-and-conquer tactics. Because they are dominated by legislatures that are divided by party and ideology, they reward those who rely on partisan calculus and engage in partisan combat. There good politics is good policy — for individuals seeking to move up the legislative ladder. Cities and metropolitan areas think in terms of networks that act together to achieve common goals and encourage collaboration and teamwork. They have a different disposition toward progress and continuous improvement. There, good policy is good politics — for individuals seeking to gain community trust and commitment (pp.9–10).

Cities and towns succeed when their constituents succeed. Recognizing as much, the question becomes how do cities and towns support or facilitate the goal-setting, action-taking, accountability-tracking, results-measuring, accomplishment-celebrating process?

The fact that public participation in that process remains largely still a function of City Councils (e.g., Oakland City Council) and special Commissions (e.g., the Oakland Privacy Advisory Commission, Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities, etc.) is the clearest indication that cities and towns have yet to acknowledge and fulfill the singular role they play in local networks. In effect, they may not “think” like federal and state governments, but when it comes to structured “collaboration and teamwork” they continue to act like them by relying on special legislative and advisory bodies, which shape policy and direct administrative resources.

Granted, some cities and towns like the City of Oakland have made it a priority to do “community outreach and engagement,” but more often than not these efforts are ad hoc (therefore, network-seeking and team-building rather than network-leveraging and team-developing) and project-based (therefore, limited in duration and scope rather than progressive and continuously improving).

The Constituent Success Platform on the Internet Computer not only affirms the fact that cities and towns do not think like federal and state governments, it is specifically designed to help them act like only cities and towns can act — namely, by empowering individuals (residents, employees, and visitors) and organizations of all kinds (from block parties, book clubs, and extended families to church communities, NCPCs, local union chapters, businesses and City departments) to set, share, align, and achieve worthwhile goals that stand to benefit one and all. It is the good platform that promises to make even better policy and better politics for cities, towns and their constituents.

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Dedicated to developing the idea that the Internet Computer will enable a new kind of platform that helps cities and towns to establish, develop and sustain meaningful relations with those who live, work, study and play in them.

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Michael P. Ford

Michael P. Ford

Public Servant, Independent Scholar & Social Entrepreneur

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