Reuters

From arguments to interruptions, town hall meetings can be pretty inefficient.

The community meeting is one of those first-level-in-the-pyramid, foundational elements of a democratic society. The people come together to hear from and talk to their elected officials and bureaucrats, and to play a part in collectively deciding what should and should not happen in a community. These meetings are important. But often they're also slow, inefficient argue-fests that are more Jerry Springer than Founding Fathers.

In this recent TEDx talk recorded in Harlem, Jake Barton cleverly portrays the frustrating inefficiencies of the typical community meeting using images of community meetings from the photo-sharing site Flickr. Barton is the founder of Local Projects, a media design firm that helps run a website called Change By Us that allows citizens to share ideas for improving their city, join efforts in their neighborhoods, and connect with public and non-profit groups that are able to support or fund ideas. We wrote about Change By Us – and the overlapping goals of the TED organization's City 2.0 prize – back in March.

Barton thinks there's a better way to get neighbors and community members involved in bringing about change. To illustrate his point, he walks us through a typical bad community meeting, with visual aides and narration. Below is just the segment of his talk featuring the recreated community meeting bit, but the entire talk is also worth watching.

Top image credit: Jason Redmond/Reuters

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Rescue crews and observers on top of the rubble from a collapsed building that fell in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City.
    Environment

    A Brigade of Architects and Engineers Rushed to Assess Earthquake Damage in Mexico City

    La Casa del Arquitecto became the headquarters for highly skilled urbanists looking to help and determine why some buildings suffered more spectacularly than others.

  2. A LimeBike is pictured next to a Capital Bikeshare dock.
    Transportation

    Bike Share, Unplanned

    Three private bike-share companies are determined to shake up the streets of D.C. But what, exactly, are they trying to disrupt?

  3. Equity

    Here Is Everything Wrong With 'Bodega,' the Startup That Destroys Bodegas

    We made you a list.

  4. Stuff

    A Minimalist Poster of All the Subway Systems in the World

    Celebrate your love for heavy-rail commuter systems by putting every single one of them on your wall.

  5. Transportation

    Why Are Little Kids in Japan So Independent?

    In Japan, small children take the subway and run errands alone, no parent in sight. The reason why has more to do with social trust than self-reliance.