It is my belief that the renaissance of a number of Historic Milwaukee neighborhoods is linked with the rise of e-mail networks among neighbors and “collaborators.” My first realization of this is derived from the Riverwest E-mail network, started, I am told, by Shawn Smart and passed along to Tess Reiss. I then learned about Gretchen Doege’s Story Hill web site and e-mail group, a West Side group started perhaps by Chris Weber, an Eastside group launched by Kay Baldwin and Paul Stafford, and some networks in Brewer’s Hill, Historic Concordia, and the Brady St. Neighborhood. I was there when Virginia Cassel committed to start the Sherman Blvd. Task Force and Milwaukee Preservation Alliance yahoo group and Bill Sell the Bay_View_Matters yahoo group. In time I discovered Peace Action, the Milwaukee Greens, and the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network(MARN).

These on-line conversation/meetings constitute, methinks, some kind of “social brain” that will have a profound impact on Milwaukee’s future evolution. There is almost no question I can’t ask of one of the networks I subscribe to. Virginia Cassell’s recent “Family” and Tom and Denise Schmitt’s “Accessibility” offer round table occasions for matters as personal as I can stand to bring out to the group. We have something like a village square or well where we can go and seek friendly advise, give voice to our problems and visions, argue, debate, and have fun.

And now I have discovered a web site software that will carry this process even further. This is being written at a “wiki” web site at, more precisely, the “Milwaukee Renaissance” open territory for your use. I would very much appreciate anyone who would like to tell some of the story of their respective internet community to go to this specific site,
go to the top of the page, click “edit,” write your story, then go to the bottom of the page and click “save.” There are easy rules at the bottom of the page and I, James Carlson, Tegan Dowling, Megan Godsil are available to answer any navigational questions. My number is 232 1336. Your groups are invited to have a site at the bucketworks or renaissance locations. You can really get up to speed by taking some $15 classes from James Carlson, the wiki master of Milwaukee, or Tegan Dowling, his main wiki worker.

This morning I just realized that our students could be given the tools to create their own wiki web site, to track their educational accomplishments and get more in the habit of using the world wide web as their learning encyclopedia.

Last edited by Tom Schmitt. Based on work by Godsil.  Page last modified on December 08, 2004

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