Sunday, November 25, 2012

WEEKEND ROUND-UP: STORY SITES ABOUT COMMUNITY

SANDY STORYLINE: A new project called Sandy Storyline has launched in beta, and calls itself a "participatory documentary about Hurricane Sandy and efforts to recover and rebuild our neighborhoods." Anyone in areas affected by Sandy can share their experience by calling the phone line, or uploading photos, audio or text from online or their cell phone. It's a beautifully designed site, which makes sense because the talented folks at Housing is a Human Right are involved (listen to my podcast interview with that group's leaders here), as are the MIT Center for Civic Media, Cowbird, Interoccupy.net, Occupied Stories, and others. The Sandy Storyline reflects the grassroots nature of the Occupy movement; to my mind, the Storyline is not just about efforts to recover and rebuild, but the project itself constitutes a kind of recovery and rebuilding. 

Central City, from HealingHistories.org
HEALING HISTORIES: Speaking of storytelling sites about hurricane-hit areas, I recently learned of and checked out Healing Histories, a collection of stories about the Central City district of New Orleans, organized by themes such as "Our History," "Our Homes," and "Our Neighbors." This pie-slice-shaped piece of land, right next to the famed Garden District, is known mostly for its high crime rate, but these professionally produced stories pull different threads out of the neighborhood's history and life, as residents talk about their efforts to build a true community. Compared to the participatory nature of the Sandy Storyline, this site feels a little top-down, but the strong stories and excellent presentation make for an interesting stroll through a neighborhood seen in a new light.

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