@Mlsif @Raziej aka @pdmteam propose home for #NYC “Internet Public” @knightfdn

Personal Democracy MediaMicah Sifry and Andrew Raziej of Personal Democracy Media, organizers of the annual Personal Democracy Forum, after extensive studies and research have concluded that the NYC Internet Public needs a permanent gathering center. They write:

Thanks to planning grants from the Omidyar Network, Ford Foundation and Google, we have been working with Kate Krontiris and Matthew Burton, doing intensive research on the broad needs of the open internet and civic tech community. We interviewed a diverse mix of more than 100 stakeholders and held several group design workshops with about 50 of them. Here’s what we’ve learned: people who are fighting for the open web and a better society hunger for a place to come together regularly year round, and not just at large conferences or occasional meetings. They want to gather around something that is bigger than a one- or two-day hackathon, yet less structured than a start-up incubator. They also want a place for curated workshops and events, as well as daily serendipitous encounters. In effect, they want a “third place” where diverse constituencies can cross paths regularly and find common ground by working on actual problems in a deliberate way.

So, what we envision this new center as something like this: A big, beautiful airy space in downtown Manhattan (or Brooklyn), in the heart of New York’s burgeoning tech sector that people can use to work and meet, with room for small and mid-sized events and conferences (and a great stage for livestreaming), individual and group work areas, a bar for coffee during the day and beers at night, with lots and lots of WiFi! We also plan to invite some related organizations as anchor co-tenants to produce their own events and help us expand our community even more. The center would have an innovation lab at its heart, with full and part-time resident fellows, each working on a specific problems and responsible for work-shopping solutions with relevant stakeholders. There would be an ongoing series of daytime and evening talks, seminars, and tech demonstrations open to the public, and with monthly and yearly membership options for people and organizations who want to be able to use PDC as their home base for work and networking.

A Knight News Challenge proposal has been submitted, where they encourage the community to add comments.