When a major redevelopment project happens in a community, it is important to keep residents informed and aware of every step of the planning process. In Ames, Iowa, this responsibility is taken up by the Campustown Action Association (CAA). This neighborhood organization seeks to promote the vitality of the Ames neighborhood known as Campustown. One the ways they accomplish this is by using their social media accounts to share information on projects and events happening in the city. As of late, their main priority has been to keep the community informed on the progress of the Campustown redevelopment project currently underway.
The Campustown Action Association maintains a Facebook page and Twitter account (@Amescampustown). These pages share and retweet events and information from city departments, such as the Ames Police and Ames City Government. They also share and retweet posts from local businesses in Campustown. This channeling of different components of the community into one convenient online location helps promote civic participation. The greater the participation in civic activities, the more the city is held accountable for their public policy.
One of the most important functions of these social media accounts is their updates on the Campustown redevelopment project. Several blocks in the Campustown district have been razed and are currently under construction for redevelopment. CAA uses their Facebook and Twitter pages to post updates about the plan and construction, so residents are aware of what’s going on every step of the way. New photos of construction are posted each week. Updates to the plan are posted as well, such as the announcement that CVS Pharmacy will be the anchor retailer. This social media activity surrounding the project helps ensure transparency, so that every decision is made in the community’s best interest.
CAA’s technique of using social media proves to exclude, however, those who do not have access to technology. The CAA could make a greater effort to reach out to those members of the community with limited access to technology and match the amount of information shared through social media in print form or through more direct outreach efforts.
Is there a neighborhood organization that you follow on twitter? What are the benefits of using this technology for community groups?
Credit: Images by Molly Carpenter. Data linked to sources.