When I started a community Internet site in 1992 I had this idea that a community is a living organism and like all Homo sapiens communities it’s made up of individuals of all shapes, sizes, colors, affiliations, religions, etc. The goal was to create a virtual likeness of such a community that would work for all communities the world over. I also realized that what worked on Bainbridge Island would not work for a small town in China.
So my journey began. I started defining all the elements of a community I could find and think of. Then I created a structure to plug things into. This got a little cumbersome but worked (to a degree). This is what most other corporate web sites do that are calling themselves Bainbridge Island (and your community) with places for information to be plugged into. This is what Microsoft tried with Sidewalk.
After I had developed my expanded list of pieces of a community I reached a point where I realized that I needed to shrink and simplify this mass. (After many years I counted over 2000 projects that I had generated that pertained to so many aspects or events in the community). It got too hard to maintain, especially with no funding. Plus, I had to do it as an html web site because blog software did not yet exist. But I knew that it was too important to walk away from (it was really social networking on a community scale) because it applied to all communities the world over and I knew that there was more to create.
At one point I had hoped that Bainbridge Island would become a world model. I had started early enough in the game and the collective knowledge of certain individuals (note I didn't say leadership here) on Bainbridge was more than adequate (which I did draw on to a degree). But like most communities, there are old established structures that exist to perpetuate themselves. If anything comes along and rises in stature, represents a value, power or a threat to the organism’s existence, it will rise from a slumber of status quo and move to kill whatever is new or absorb it into its body. Fright and flight in a slumbering behemoth is an interesting phenomenon.
This, too, I needed to take into consideration, and it didn't fit into a template. So I went back to my original thoughts of a living organism. I remembered a conference I had gone to in the mid-1980s in San Jose involving the National Science Foundation where I listened to presentations on all manner of science involved in "Man's Ability to Inhabit Mars." There was a prominent scientific thinker there whose claim to fame was Whole Systems Design, and he had been working on a model that defined an ameba by seven separate systems. I knew something about whole systems design and began to reflect on the nature of a community as if it were an ameba (a simple life form) created of systems.
Out of that thought process grew the realization that a template was not the path but a formula was. This became my holy grail ..."The Formula of Community" ... and that realization has been my guiding star for at least a decade. And now I share it with you: The Pizza Model of Community Structure
The secret formula for the
Updated November, 2007
The Secret Formulas of Community story is copyright 2007
to David Henry, all rights reserved.
It is available for reprint with permission in its entirety. Just ask
The secret formula for the
(Notice that this formula is bigger and more cumbersome than the previous formula; and I can tell you from experience that it costs about 50 times more, 10 times as long to create and produces a lesser product. But the choice is yours.)
The question is: for whom.
Now, knowing this story and others she had been privy to, Debbie then asked me an interesting question: "Why do I keep trying to develop a community Internet site in the face of all these years of opposition?" Good question. As I recall I gave her some generic answer at the time.
Debbie, I would like another shot...
It was only in part about Bainbridge Island. If you take the knowledge you now possess about the back room politics of this community and read between the lines of this page, you will see it is about the future of all communities and how the Internet (communications), in the hands of the average citizen, can precipitate a positive change in their respective communities. The Bainbridge Buzz was a good example. It is also an "engine of change" and creation if kept free.
So, Debbie, I hope this page and others that will appear in this new site are a better answer to your question.
One I often ask myself ;-) - Dave
looking for fertile ground to plant the seeds and to seek out the springs of knowledge, leadership and ethics to water them.
Net Neutrality is as important as global warming.
Pehaps those who seek to "Do No Evil" are the key.
Foot Note: (1) The "Round Table for Tourism" was a City of Bainbridge Island sponsored event chaired by council members Bebbra Vancil and Bob Scales. I attended most of the city committee meeting pertaining to this event, much of the time I was the only one their. I related several projects relating to tourism that were of value to the community that the Bainbridge Island Community Network had done in the past (like promoting the concept of turning the Ferry Maintenance Yard into the "Mystic Seaport of the West Coast" when the timing was right in Olympia to do so. Councilman Merrill Robison was the only one in government or the business community who spoke up for this project at that time. I 695 was the only reason it died.
I also presented my visitor section on the net as well as other projects and supporting hit statistics from the web site. They must have concluded that the internet was irrelevant to tourism on Bainbridge because I was excluded from participating in the event, even from commenting from the audience during that comment period. (This is Bainbridge Island, this is who we are.)