Last week I had a great time at a planning session for the upcoming Toronto OpenCities event. Interested in helping out? Check out the webpage.

During the initial discussion people shared their notions of what Open City means. During the conversation Kevin B. noted the Wikipedia definition of Open City:

“In war, in the event of the imminent capture of a city, the government/military structure of the country that controls the city will sometimes declare it an open city, thus announcing that they have abandoned all defensive efforts. The attacking armies of the opposing military will then be expected not to bomb or otherwise attack the city, but simply to march in. The concept aims at protecting the historic landmarks and civilians who dwell in the city from an unnecessary battle.”

This definition may seem so divorced from the OpenCities project so as to be unhelpful. However, I think the opposite may be true. City governments and city infrastructure (public transit, urban planning, etc…) have, for too long, treated their own citizens as enemy armies – a force to be kept at bay, to be controlled and kept out of the cities inner workings. Open Cities is about tearing down a city’s last defense – its own operating system – and opening it up to let us all contribute.

What does that mean? Whose knows. But Open Cities is about figuring it out. Hope you check it out.

[tags]OpenCities, Opensource, Toronto, Centre for Social Innovation[/tags]

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