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The Ragged School Blog Deptford

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Greenwich Watch

Just got back from Greenwich University to see an architecture degree show and popped into the Tourist Information Centre where I get my fix of leaflets on whats on. I picked up the News Shopper which we never get delivered and when I got home was delighted to see an article about a new website called Greenwich Watch. The website which also uses Blogger (an easy and free way for everyone to create a website) says of its raison d'etre:

Why did we feel we needed to run a blog dedicated to watching Greenwich Council? Well we're long standing residents of the borough and we felt that the Council had become somewhat autocratic, and it seemed to spend a lot of time spinning. We rarely saw the Council seriously held to account in the local press and we felt that we could have more impact on the web than in any other way.

... from About Us on greenwichwatch.blogspot.com

The site is anonymous and allows anonymous comments so that you can post or email "any news, rumours or gossip about Greenwich Council, its work and its councillors... We'll do our best to publish what the local press can't."

The site is well written and well laid out thus setting extremely high standards for community journalism. I hope its main impact will be to alert local activists and campaigners to understanding the role such web tools will be playing in local matters.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Thames Gateway Podwalk

As part of Architecture Week 2006 in June, Wayne Hemingway the designer has recorded a podwalk, taking listeners from Greenhithe station for a 2-3 mile walking audiotour. The great thing about podwalking is the fact that its just an mp3 file like any other which you can listen to at home (with or without a mp3 player). The tour is a critique of the regeneration schemes around the Thames Gateway from a designer well known for his contribution the debate on architecture and urban planning. As a walking audio tour, the commentary serves as both a guide to the riverside and a context rich narrative about landscape.

Anyone with a voice recorder can make a podwalk and host it for others to listen to. The genre is still very new as audioguides are traditionally studio produced and distributed in a closed setting. Podwalking, audioblogging and podcasting can be recorded using a cheap mike directly into a computer or out in the field with any recording equipment. You can record a single take with no editing, or collect material and put is together with background sounds and music to produce a professional programme. You can even meet in a cafe or pub and record directly into a laptop.

So as part of the OpenStreetMap project, my friend Nick Hill was interviewed by Steve Coast in a pub in Camden. The resulting interview (about using GPS to share map data) shows how podcasting is a new route to engage audiences in projects.

An interesting twist happened at the Hayward Gallery recently during the retrospective of Dan Flavin. The gallery created a website which allowed visitors to download 6 ambient soundscapes to be played back during your visit to the gallery. The sounds were specifically created as a compliment to the exhibition space.