The North End Agora: Design Conversation at the Neighborhood Level

  • Matthew A. Shapiro

Sustained and constructive conversation may prove to have its most powerful societal effect if it can be carried out among neighbors in the context of a common goal or challenge. Neighborhood — and its corresponding forms in the small town and village — has the following characteristics that can make it an ideal setting for conversation that adds value to the community and to the lives of its participants: diversity in a small area; familiarity with those who live around you; numbers that can make a difference; shared concerns that pull people together at a basic level; physical proximity, providing easy opportunity for planned and accidental encounters between people on a fairly regular basis; equality, insofar as there are no formal organizations or structures in which certain people hold authority over others; and a dysfunctionality or non-existence as social systems, which makes them “greenfield” opportunities for innovation and broad-based grassroots participation.


Design Solution Idealize Image Charter School Idealize Design Authentic Community 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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  • Matthew A. Shapiro

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