E-Democracy builds online public space in the heart of real democracy and community. Our mission is to harness the power of online tools to support participation in public life, strengthen communities, and build democracy.
A collaboration with Dr. Rosta Farzan of the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences launched in 2013 has so far yielded two conference papers. In 2014, Dr. Farzan received a Google Research Award to investigate the role of local online communities as "third places" akin to local coffee shops, community centers and beauty salons using E-Democracy data.
In May 2012, E-Democracy released the Inclusive Social Media Project Report, which provides a comprehensive participatory evaluation of the 2010-2011 project supported by the Ford Foundation (full report - pdf).
These collaborations and other early research date back to the 1990's with the publication of The Internet and Democratic Discourse: Exploring the prospects of online deliberative forums extending the public sphere - Minnesota E-Democracy (e-democracy.org) is the oldest and possibly most successful experiment in developing an ‘online commons’, Lincoln Dahlberg, Massey University, New Zealand, 2001.
In addition to the above, we are beholden to the University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs Community Geographic Information Systems (CGIS) program and Community Programs and the research staff at Minnesota Compass (Wilder Research) for developing demographic profiles and maps, and providing additional guidance and support.