How well do cities use the social web?

Cities need the human voice to articulate stories about sustainable practices and responsible travel. At its best, these are face-to-face encounters which are often supplemented by the social web. We’re able to meetup if we have contact via our smartphones and digital devices.

We’ve been tuned into city environments for some time. 2014 will be the 10th anniversary of the urban ecotourism conference. Back then we were told that ecotourism was distinct from city tourism, nevermind the fact that to get to the remote outdoors once usually passed through an urban hub.

Our view: if we want to protect the world’s forests, we need to start in the city parks and make sure that the trees are planted are tended. Likewise if we value the purity of our air and our water, it’s time to look at city environments. Do we know what we are breathing and drinking?

Ten years ago we did not have the mobile revolution that continues to shake the ground underneath our feet. Could we have imagined Facebook or Foursquare or Foodspotting? Could we have foreseen the immediacy of livestreaming events via Ustream or Google Hangouts? Digital literacy is no longer an add-on to communication strategies. It is front and center, that which connects visitors and locals long before and long a journey is made.

That said, we would like to deepen the conversations by spotlighting various cities around the world. How well do cities use the social web? We’re going to look for specific and positive examples. Planeta Wiki editors are invited to share headlines, relevant resource links and social web channels to our City Wiki. Editors and non-editors are welcome to edit a collaborative Google doc.

First up, check out the city-focused events this week:

Sep 18 Failed Cities is the focus of the monthly #citytalk tweetchat conducted online. We’re looking forward to taking a second look at cities in crisis, both real and perceived. With an eye on tourism, we ask which city tourism portals do the best job of participating on the social web. Frankly, most cities fail in this regard, having neither a Facebook page or Twitter account or if they do, using these channels as bullhorns rather than areas for discussion and interaction. Allow me a provocative question: which cities do not fail at social media?

Sep 19-20 2nd UNWTO Global Summit on City Tourism: Innovative strategies for improving competitiveness and the development of new business models takes place in Moscow, Russia. No word if there will be livestreaming video.

September 20 TEDCity 2.0 commences at the TimesCenter in New York City from 9am-5pm EST. Co-curated and co-hosted by Chris Anderson, John Cary, and Courtney Martin, the event surfaces stories of urban ingenuity and interdependence from across the globe. Livestreamed for free, the TEDCity2.0 anchor event will coincide with self organized TEDxCity2.0 events over a 48-hour period.

Buzzword Bingo: City

On the Planeta Wiki we’ll be making updates to our city pages:

auckland, new zealand
austin, usa
barcelona, spain
beijing, china
berlin, germany
boston, usa
brisbane, australia
calgary, canada
cancún, méxico
cape town, south africa
chicago, usa
christchurch, new zealand
copenhagen, demmark
durban, south africa
edinburgh, scotland
jerusalem, israel
las vegas, usa
lima, peru
london, england
miami, usa
melbourne, australia
mexico city, mexico
moscow, russia
oaxaca city, mexico
monterrey, mexico
philadelphia, usa
queenstown, new zealand
quito, ecuador
tokyo, japan
wellington, new zealand
whistler, canada

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