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UC Berkeley

New website promotes community building

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Berkeley residents might soon change the way they think about community participation.

Today, a group of students from UC Berkeley are launching CitySandbox, a website designed to enhance neighborhood collaboration.

“This site is a way for people to find out more about their communities,” said Evelyn Shaw, the app lab producer from the Social App Lab at CITRIS at UC Berkeley. “It’s a way to find out what people are interested in and what they can work toward together.”

CitySandbox combines a Google map of the Berkeley area with a social networking element similar to websites like Reddit or Digg. By clicking on a spot in the map, users can ask a question, plan a gathering or point out an issue pertaining to that spot.

Other members can then comment on the marker and vote it up or down. Ideally, popular topics will facilitate conversation, and conversation will lead to community participation.

Some of the questions currently posed on the site include “How can we make People’s Park less scary for everyone?” and “How can we make College Avenue safer for cars, bikers, and pedestrians?” There are less serious questions, too, such as “Where is the best place to study off-campus?”

As part of the public test, Social App Lab developers have asked Berkeleyside readers to visit www.citysandbox.com to nominate valued leaders in the community. … Continue reading »

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