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Network Weaving

Sunday, September 17, 2006

NOLA Networks


Many people think that all post-Katrina recovery efforts are fragmented and failing. Although many of the formal organizations are falling over each other, and over the debris that is still in the streets, community networks are self-organizing and emerging in New Orleans and elsewhere in the devastated region.

A month ago, I got an email from Sarah who is working with ThinkNOLA. She inquired...

Through the New Orleans Wiki we've documented significant social relationships and organizational connections between board members in the key recovery agencies, both governmental and quasi-governmental. Do you have any suggestions for producing visual representations of this information?

I said, "Sure, put your data into this link/relationship format, send it to me, and I will map it for you." BTW, this is a great use of WIKI technology -- a common place for people to store/edit/update the relationships/flows they find.

We went through several iterations of data and soon had some maps. The network above is a combination of all 8 relationships we mapped. It shows how over 1000 organizations and individuals are connected in various recovery projects.

The NOLA network has grown to the 'multiple hubs' stage that we described in this white paper: Building Smart Communities through Network Weaving [PDF]. ThinkNOLA and their colleagues are examining the first set of maps to see where they are -- who is connected, who is not and who should be. They will then weave the network where necessary.

An iterative process: know the net, knit the net... repeat.

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