The End of the Nation-State?

A quick scan across the world reveals that where growth and inno­va­tion have been most suc­cess­ful, a hybrid public-private, domestic-foreign nexus lies beneath the mir­a­cle. These aren’t states; they’re “para-states” — or, in one com­mon par­lance, “spe­cial eco­nomic zones.”

Index your city: An idea for local news

A while back I moved into a new apart­ment in Port­land. It’s in a great neigh­bor­hood and a ter­rific build­ing. One of the best parts is the top floor view of Lone Fir Ceme­tery across the street. It’s a ceme­tery that saw its first bur­ial in 1846 and has quite a bit of his­tory tied to it.

What is inter­est­ing to me is that on the edge of this mas­sive, his­toric ceme­tery is an empty cor­ner of land. It’s roped off and is mostly gravel. After dig­ging through Wikipedia’s foot­notes I found that this lot is tied to some controversy.

The one use­ful arti­cle I could find online states that:

The county would go ahead with plans to tear down its build­ing at the cor­ner of South­east Mor­ri­son Street and 20th Avenue — a squat beige box and park­ing lot built atop the graves of Chi­nese immi­grants buried there in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

To me that’s fas­ci­nat­ing. It’s a cor­ner of land that has roots going back over 100 years but is still empty and unmarked. There’s no rea­son I should have to dig through Wikipedia and track down an Ore­gon­ian arti­cle re-posted on another site to find that out.

Dave Winer says that, “Rule #1 of local blog­ging: If you hear fire trucks in the night, in the morn­ing you should be able to find out where the fire was.” If that’s local blog­ging then a thriv­ing local news ecosys­tem should adopt a mind­set akin to “If you have a ques­tion about some­thing in our city, we’ll answer it for you.”

The Ore­gon­ian, or a startup news ser­vice, is miss­ing a golden oppor­tu­nity here. Port­land is a town with pretty well-defined neigh­bor­hoods that each have their unique his­to­ries. Some­one who can index those loca­tions as well as the news and his­tory of each has cre­ated a solid prod­uct which they can deliver to res­i­dents as well as visitors.