Thoughts about “Celebrate South Madison”

At “Celebrate South Madison,” I spoke with several attendees, many of whom were residents of the area.  All of the individuals I spoke with had an overwhelming sense of pride in their neighborhood and seemed enthusiastic to showcase their community to the rest of the city.  I think gatherings such as this are essential, and should occur annually or bi-annually; they reinforce in the South Madison residents, especially the children, the importance of community pride, fellowship and outreach.

One thought that stuck with me after the event was something said by Robert Pierce, who works with Growing Power and organizes the South Madison farmers markets.  I asked him if the people of South Madison were more or less bonded now than when he was younger.  Pierce said (and I’m paraphrasing) that nothing has changed—that there was and still is a strong bond between the South Madison residents.  Back in his day, residents referred to the area as “the village” and everyone treated each other like family; according to him, the tradition of seeing your neighbor as a mother, father, sister, or brother has not disintegrated over time.  This made me think that, in designing a project that is supposed to accomplish “bringing and bonding,” maybe our class should put more effort into bridging South Madison with the rest of the city, since South Madison residents already feel closely tied to one another.

That being said, the night of “Celebrate South Madison,” a shooting occurred at R Place, a South Park St. tavern.  Three people were injured. It’s likely that this event will slow down R Place’s business for a while, and it doesn’t help the reputation of the South Madison area.  I think our biggest challenge with this project will be to prove to those who don’t live in South Madison that the area is (overall) a safe and fun place to be.

As for our project’s platform, I suggest the following:

  • Instead of taking a risk with a random communication technology, we should conduct some informal surveys in South Madison  to find out which types of communication technologies and applications are the most popular among residents.  We’re here to please the community; if we build a platform using a communication technology favored by residents, they will be excited about our final product and (hopefully) adopt it long-term.
  • Try to make the final product that’s accessible and user-friendly.  Not everyone has the same level of technological literacy, and we want more than tech-savvy young adults to engage with whatever we produce.

Let’s get to work 🙂

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