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January 11, 2005

a map of civic renewal

Here's a map of the civic renewal network. I made it in the following way. I visited TouchGraph's amazing GoogleBrowser, which generates diagrams of the links among websites, as recognized by Google. I entered three URLs that to me represent important nodes in the real (not merely virtual) network for civic renewal in America:

  • The Civic Practices Network, a gateway to such fields as asset-based community development, public journalism (i.e., news that tries to support citizen participation), and civic environmentalism (efforts to protect nature collaboratively).

  • CIRCLE, where I work. We try to cover the fields of civic education and youth politics, since it's critical to prepare the next generation of citizens.

  • Common Cause, an organization that seeks to reform government and make it more responsive to citizens.
  • TouchGraph generates a dynamic map that moves and expands as you adjust it. It's great to watch. The map that you can view on my site is static, because I pasted it into a graphic file. Nevertheless, it neatly shows the relationships among such fields as neighborhood activism, civic engagement on college campuses, public deliberation, national service, and public journalism. It is evidence of a robust and fairly tight network of organizations that are improving the quality and power of citizens' public work.

    This is a map of civic renewal, not the map. It has at least three major limitations: (1) I chose the three initial nodes--not arbitrarily, but guided by my personal experience; (2) Google's database of links is imperfect and incomplete; and (3) links among websites are not always meaningful. One site can link to another without having anything to do with it; or two groups can work closely together but neglect to exchange links on their sites. (They might not even have websites.) In short, I find my own map fascinating, but my main advice is to use TouchGraph to make your own.

    Posted by peterlevine at January 11, 2005 08:27 AM


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