Welcome home, Commons Community!
This is a non-traditional housewarming party. Parties like this usually come complete with appetizers, drinks, and a tour of the homeowner’s sweet, new digs. But since our housewarming is all digital, we’re going to jump straight to showing you around the first iteration of the new Community Commons.
We say the “first iteration” because we are in the process of building this and will build it alongside you – which we think is important. This is only an introduction to the new Commons. The new Commons is not a one-and-done project. As we learn how you use the site, what’s on your wishlist for data and indicators, and what’s buggy and boring, we will take that feedback (YOUR feedback) and make the Commons better as we go along. It will be a living, breathing, and ever-changing place.
So as you acclimate to our new space, here are a few things you can explore:
1. Register for an account – Even if you had an account on the old Commons, it’s time to re-register! Having an account allows you to interact with the tools, data, resources, and stories you find on the Commons, helping you make sense and gain context for the data you see. But an account is so much more than that. An account is also how you can give back to the Commons in a variety of ways, ensuring that together we are creating lasting change for communities like yours.
2. Stories of, and for, change – Stories have always been at the heart of the Commons, and you can be sure that will continue. We’ve built up a network of writers from all across the country who are working to tell their stories of community. We’ve got an eye toward stories of changemakers who work with a solutions focus, moving from knowing to doing.
3. Mapping environment – Place matters, that’s why you will find a mapping tool similar to what you’ve used in the past, with a starter list of indicators which will grow over time. You have the ability to save maps to your collection and more granular data at the block group level from the American Community Survey. Our mapping environment is built on open software to better align with our mission and values. The data engine behind the scenes is accessible via API.
4. Curated collections – Much like your favorite museum, one of our favorite new features is an ode to curators and collections. The new Commons Collections will be hand-curated by our team for you to browse OR created by you! Collections can include stories found on the Commons, your favorite maps and eventually – data cards. You can pull together the content that helps you paint the picture and tell a story to your stakeholders. These collections can be public or private and the kinds of content that can be included will grow over time.
5. More than a website – Now, more than ever, you’ll see that Community Commons is more than a website for your bookmarks list. It is an initiative for the common good consisting of the tools, maps, reports, and data you’re familiar; it’s also much more – a story network, facilitated initiatives around health and well-being, a partner network of thought leaders and change makers, a field builder to connect and strengthen networks, and an information hub to find resources to create change – which we look forward to bringing to you in the coming months.
Over the next few months you’ll see more indicators, more toolkits and resources, more collections, more data, and more of YOUR ideas incorporated into the Commons. Right now, things are simple. It’s not perfect, but our commitment to you is to provide an experience where you can connect data with context, where you can move from knowing to doing, and where you can find the human element behind the numbers.