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Miesian Corners

Help! Poor UNC Charlotte student needs your ideas

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Recently, I was given an assignment for an urban design class at UNC Charlotte; I could use the help and expertise of all you here in cyberspace. My professor has embraced the concept of "Wikiplanning" as a response to the (percieved) limitations of design charettes. The idea is that we can use a wiki as a means of engaging those who are usually on the outside of planning issues, and via the Internet, on-line collaboration can take root bringing them into the fold. While I agree to a point, I feel that tacit knowledge is still important. Facetime, in my opinion (especially when tangible things like houses, shopping centers, transit and roads, and parks are involved) is a must. So cutting to the chase, my assignment is this: develop and test an on-line method for soliciting input from some portion of the UNC Charlotte community relative to the upcoming UNC Charlotte Master Plan update. On-going dialogue is preferable to a method that only requires a single response.

I will tell you I've used a Facebook group and have had mixed results. Students who have posted seem to confuse design with bringing football to campus. I know, I'm not sure how one could make that leap either, but they have. So again, any ideas for ways to do this and get a legitimate response (using the guidlines the professor has set forth) would be a huge help to me. I am most appreciative.

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Speaking of urban design, a friend of mine is in the Architecture Dept., and was telling me that the school was looking into starting a grad program for Urban Design.

I believe I have joined the facebook group, but idk. I thought that was a great idea to start the group, because most students really want something other than football on campus that will make a difference. I dont really know what else would reach the majority of the populace of UNCC, mainly because almost every student would have a facebook.

I dont know of that really helps, but take what you want from it.

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Not sure if you're looking for something more conventional or not, but thinking kind of out of the box, I've been reading a lot lately about using games for things like this. Specifically, Simcity 2000. There was a network version that let people trade resources and stuff, so there is some way to communicate and view the virtual world. I've never played it though, so can't give any insight on how useful it would be.

In general, though, the idea is sound. It would keep people focused on building out the campus rather than throwing in a football stadium and calling it a day. And with communication tools like Teamspeak or Ventrilo, you could have multiple people online at any given time hashing out ideas.

Another advantage is that it keeps people's interest over a longer term. Rather than one post on a Facebook page or whatever, changes to the gaming world (seeing your ideas implemented, changed or even discarded) would keep people coming back to advocate for their ideas or see what's happening.

But that seems like a long-term idea with a lot of investment of time and energy. Not to mention finding the right software.

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The Wiki type of software really doesn't exactly lend itself to group collaboration efforts though it is good stuff for documenting the end result of decisions made of the planning process.

Your basic problem and one that we have faced here at Urbanplanet is how to give people the freedom to express their ideas on the subject while at the same time keeping that freedom limited so they remain on the subject. It is very very easy for a discussion to head into outerspace and never get to the point of having it in the first place. One of the less obvious things that we do here is that we have built in posting restrictions in the software and how we have organized the site, and in the rules that vet out people who post here for reasons not having to do with why we are here at UrbanPlanet. The good forumers never notice it.

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It seems to me that Urban Planet is a good means of connection opposed to Facebook, because it directly accounts the topics, vs. being something that someone may accidently come on. I found UP originially well looking for certain building topics in Uptown that interested me and I didn't know what. I am a student at UNCC, also, although I'm in Computer Engineering. I'd be glad to help with what I can, again, I am here for interest, but I certainly am trying to find a path that can incorporate my expertise with computer systems and applying it to an Urban Design approach, one that will be extremely benefitial, revolutionary one might say. Transportation technology in an Urban Enviornment has caught my eye specifically, as you may see from my expressive love over the South Line LRT.

Certainly I don't think it would hurt to start a subtopic in the Charlotte Coffee House, but I am not a Mod and would have no say in that. A lot of ppl do use Facebook, I hate it personally, except the fact that old friends can find me then can talk on AIM. I prefer forums that answers direct subjects and could be searchable and found on Google.

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It seems to me that Urban Planet is a good means of connection opposed to Facebook, because it directly accounts the topics, vs. being something that someone may accidently come on. I found UP originially well looking for certain building topics in Uptown that interested me and I didn't know what. I am a student at UNCC, also, although I'm in Computer Engineering. I'd be glad to help with what I can, again, I am here for interest, but I certainly am trying to find a path that can incorporate my expertise with computer systems and applying it to an Urban Design approach, one that will be extremely benefitial, revolutionary one might say. Transportation technology in an Urban Enviornment has caught my eye specifically, as you may see from my expressive love over the South Line LRT.

Certainly I don't think it would hurt to start a subtopic in the Charlotte Coffee House, but I am not a Mod and would have no say in that. A lot of ppl do use Facebook, I hate it personally, except the fact that old friends can find me then can talk on AIM. I prefer forums that answers direct subjects and could be searchable and found on Google.

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Trying to think outside the box- but have you looked into starting a simple website/forum that or website that can include feedback. UNCC hosts for free through there servers. I don't know the exact info, but I believe you as a student are entitled to so much space and bandwidth with UNCC as a host for free, similar to how professors have their own website. Could be an option, that way you have full control over everything, and between here, facebook, and UNCC, you could certainly make your domain known, and filter out anything unrelating.

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Thanks, Andy. I'll give Information Services a call Monday morning. I'll be sure to let everyone know if and when it comes about. In the meantime, if you're a UNCC student (or have a UNCC email account tied to facebook), give our little group a look. "your chance to change the UNCC campus". Just don't mention football. :P

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