We were very interested to read Linda Carroli’s ideas about placeblogging’s potential parallels with earlier moments of local political action. She describes (far more eloquently than we can) how place-based research, local activism and how small-scale media functioned in earlier decades in ways that can be paralleled to the act of placeblogging. Here is an excerpt from her website, read more here.
“In Jesse Adams Stein’s introductory scoping for the upcoming Place Blogging panel at The Right to the City Symposium, she traces the hyperlocal nature of place blogging. Her questions warrant preliminary attention prior to the event to begin reflecting on my own practice/s of blogging. In riding the warp and weft of place writing and writing place, this project is not specifically or purposefully a place blogging exercise. However, I am interested in exploring how and if the practice of blogging can enhance my engagement with this outer suburban place, to actually find in it my own sense of place. I also use this blog, sometimes, to make a claim for a better deal for outer suburbs in this city. I sit in community meetings where I am at odds with the ‘general consensus’ or the ‘noisy majority’ who make claims for everything to stay the same.
“In 1988, I worked on a project called Research Action for Population Urban Action (RAP-UP), a DIY campaign project developed through communication and cultural interventions to coalesce a community based response to gentrification in the inner city’s suburbs of Woolloongabba, South Brisbane, Highgate Hill, Dutton Park and West End resulting from redevelopment of the Expo 88 site. In particular, this process focused on the production and distribution of newsletters, letters, posters, stickers, meetings and pamphlets. The public meetings featured the likes of Jack Mundey (Green Bans) and Sue Clifford (Common Ground), speakers who inspired and fired the community to creatively assert their identities and sense of place. (Sue’s presentations unleashed a wave of social mapping and place documenting, while Jack reminded us what a city and a community can gain through conservation and collaboration.)”
“RAP-UP, along with other community-based organsing efforts, shared the place blogging ethos that Jesse notes: “watching, witness, monitoring, recording, sometimes celebrating, sometimes protesting – on a very local level”. Our community was under seige and we seized these media as tools or platforms for organising in the community and for claiming our right to the city.”
“RAP-UP wasn’t a blogging project, but it could easily have been developed through social media – in the same way that campaigns like RedWatch, Unchain St Kilda and Stop Barangaroo have done. There was a DIY ethos here that was actively trying to write people into the planning and urban development process as well as urban planning literacy so that people were better equipped to deal with the challenges facing them. This, I think, is vital for claiming the right to the city.”
Linda raises some very pertinent issues here, particularly in relation to Sue Clifford’s ability to enthuse people to passionately enact social mapping / place documentation in their local environments. While I think these parallels suggest placeblogging today has more “nobility” than perhaps most of it does, it suggests the potential for this form of media in inciting active interest in our cities, and a powerful claiming of space by local inhabitants.
These (and many other issues) will be discussed at a panel discussion held at the Right to the City Symposium, 9 April 2011. Sydney University, 148 City Road, Sydney, 10am - 5pm. Free.