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New Online Platform for Stories of Community Change

Most community development work is local by definition, so groups facing common issues in different cities often end up reinventing the wheel. LikeMinded, a new knowledge-sharing platform for "neighborhood solutions," is trying to bridge these gaps, at least within the United States.

The site was launched two months ago by the Craigslist Foundation, with a grant from the Knight Foundation's Technology for Engagement Initiative. Users can share resources (free online tools like articles, videos, or toolkits) and projects (stories of neighborhood "problems," the process of addressing them, and the results) and get in touch with other members. Contributions are tagged and sorted into buckets and subcategories like "Education > Literacy" and "Government > Planning." The site is refreshingly simple to use, and it's still in a beta phase, so user feedback is actively incorporated.

Already, browsing the site turns up scores of inspiring community efforts — admittedly Bay Area-heavy — like retired doctors and nurses in San Francisco who started a volunteer clinic for uninsured patients. So far, many of the project profiles end up describing individual organizations, rather than sharing stories. But LikeMinded has the potential to grow into a valuable resource for cataloging and disseminating information about organizations and site-specific projects, as well as connecting groups with similar missions and strategies.

However, the format of the site promotes a quick "problem-solution" model for community action. While user friendly, this risks over-simplifying complex problems and the nuanced, longer-term, systemic action required to address them.