Hub2 launches in fall 2007 as two Emerson College classes, one for Emerson students and one open to Boston residents at-large. Participants in the at-large class will engage with their own communities to respond to an identified civic need. For example, residents of a community without green spaces might consider how to fit more parks into a redesigned neighborhood. By talking to people in communities, observing how spaces are currently used, and using new technologies to aid in the process of imagining how spaces could be used, they will arrive at a design proposal. Teams then implement and test the proposal in Second Life as well as devise methods to disseminate their work product outside of Second Life, for example via blogs or live demonstrations.
Phase 2: Redevelopment
During Spring 2008, project principals and participants from Phase 1 will evaluate the success of the classes and integrate lessons learned to
redevelop the program for specific constituents, especially youth. Advisors from other Second Life programs (e.g. Global Kids) and local organizations (BPS, BPL, ABCD, etc) will ensure that the program will be appropriate to the selected audience. During this phase we will also
secure commitments from partners seeking to engage in the Hub2 process.
Phase 3: Redeployment for youth and other populations
In the next phase, we redeploy our upgraded method with our partner organizations, who are likely to be youth programs. Thus, we anticipate launching Phase 3 as a six-week summer program for neighborhood teens. Teen participants would design safe and attractive places for their peers to hang out with little fear of violence, drugs, and other urban maladies. The program would culminate in a public action, likely involving a presentation to the Mayor and other city officials.
Similar programs can be developed for other communities facing challenges related to urban design and civic life. Residents of a changing neighborhood, cyclists who use city streets, or patrons of the Emerald Necklace can all use a similar process of investigation, deliberation, and construction to re-imagine their urban environment.