Taking Notice of Strangers

Much of Part One deals with Crowdsourcing in Jacobs’ context of city planning. Here’s the basic idea: more and diverse citizens watching the sidewalk makes the city safer. And, making the city safer in this way is healthy for the city, because it reaches into existing mechanisms, and pre-existing identities and lifestyles.

This woman was one of thousands upon thousands of people in New York who casually take care of the streets. They notice strangers. (p38)

She goes into detail about this type of crowdsourcing (I should note that she doesn’t actually use this term) over the next few chapters, shedding light on the importance of a mass of people’s non-exclusive, potential purposes in a complex system.

Framing this in terms of education – Educators, better yet, Facilitators casually create feedback. Citizens are facilitators (a category of educators, and not mutually exclusive with learners), and safety is feedback. This concept works especially well in language learning, where the medium for feedback is also the target content.

The Educational process starts with facilitators noticing.


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