Parallel to the developments at the Mildmay Community Centre and based on the initial community needs identification with Citizens without Borders, Zhiwei Cao and Cindy Regalado have been developing the website for Science has no Borders, which, we hope in time will fulfil some of the requests by people in the MCC community. Some of these requests include:
• be a web-based learning tool for anyone to use • be a web-based forum where people of all ages and backgrounds can easily share information and ideas • be easy to use and community-run • be fun and accessible for people of all ages, skills and with limited computer access
Based on these requests, the basic architecture of the website includes: • a forum, where people can pose questions to be answered either by people in the existing community or others whom members can invite to answer questions (e.g. Question2Answer open source platform); • a ShareIt tool (facebook style) where anyone can post pictures, comments, links to share it with anyone who visits the site; • links to the Mapping for Change community maps and the PLOTS project pages.
While the basic architecture of the site has been discussed with Muki Haklay and Claire Ellul, we still need to decide on the more technical aspects such as who will develop it (integration of the several widgets we want to include is challenging), who will run and maintain it, where will the site be hosted and what template to use but most importantly, how to involve the ultimate users in the post development of the tool in a way that the life expectancy of the website goes beyond this project.
In general, although the concept of community-led research and DIY environmental monitoring has been well received by the public thus far, it is still foreign and much work remains to be done to build the trust necessary to fully engage with the community.