As readers of this blog know, I am increasingly using evolution to make a difference in a practical sense, in the formulation of public policy through the Evolution Institute and in my own community through the Binghamton Neighborhood Project. I chronicle my odyssey in my newest book, The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time, which will be published by Little, Brown this summer.
One of my projects, in partnership with the City of Binghamton and United Way of Broome County, is a friendly competition among neighborhoods to turn vacant lots and other neglected spaces into wonderful community places. In the process of designing, implementing and maintaining their parks, the neighborhoods become empowered to take charge of their own affairs in other respects. The project is richly informed by evolutionary science, as I describe in an article titled “The Design Your Own Park Competition: Empowering Neighborhoods and Restoring Outdoor Play at a Citywide Scale“, which will be published in a special issue of the American Journal of Play, based on a symposium held at Binghamton in September 2010 as part of the project.
The DYOP competition is suddenly in the spotlight as one of 9 out of 450 entries to make the short list of the Philips Livable Cities Award, a global competition to support ideas that improve the quality of life within cities. The short-listed entries will be advertised nationally on CNN and on the Livable Cities Award website. The final judging will be made by a distinguished panel, which will consider a public vote as part of their decision. The top three entries win cash prizes of 75,000, 25,000, and 25,000 Euros, respectively, which in our case would be used directly to help implement the parks.
Please take a moment to vote for the project by visiting the Philips Livable Cities Award Website. Even better, please forward this message to others so that they can vote also. All of the projects are meritorious but DYOP is by far the most science-based in its design and assessment. It can serve as a model for other cities and winning the Philips Livable Cities Award can go a long way toward publicizing it worldwide.
Thanks very much and please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss publicizing and supporting the DYOP in more detail.