About a Place For Us and the Virtual Communty Centers


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About Place4Us

Humanity faces a growing spectrum of potentially cataclysmic threats which are insufficiently and incompetently addressed by the governments in the world. A global citizen movement is needed to bring humanity back into balance with the rest of nature and to ensure a future in which the basic needs of all people are met while safeguarding the Earth's life-support system on which the welfare of all human and non-human life depends. In recent years efforts have been made to develop virtual platforms that could support the emergence of this global citizen movements. However, the existing social media and Web-based forums do not provide sufficient community-focused means to facilitate the building of an open, inclusive, value-based and mission focused cross-sectoral community that could improve collaboration and communication between all stakeholders. In fact, there is evidence that the current social media are divisive and increase polarization. There is a need for a new social collaboration platform that aims to overcome the systemic flaws in the existing ones.

Place4Us is a social collaboration platform that is designed to host a global ecosystem of Virtual Community Centers (VCCs). Place4Us is developed and governed by the global user community under the corporate framework provided by Earth Viability Center, Inc. (EVC), a not-for-profit company registered in Virginia, USA. Both the EVC and Place4Us are organized and governed based on the Viable System Model (VSM). With the ecosystem of VCCs, Place4Us aims for progress towards a shared vision of a future where a global citizen movement through self governance maintains an open, inclusive and just society that works together to ensure the health of the Earth's life-support system on which the welfare of all human and non-human life depends; a future that brings humankind into balance with the rest of nature, and where the purpose of nature including humans is clearly articulated, respected and protected.

The overall governance of the ecosystem of VCCs is founded in the principle that each VCC is an autonomous entity and all VCCs work together towards the joint vision of the EVC. Thus, every VCC is organized, developed, and governed by its members, with the VCC vision and mission aligned with the vision and mission of the EVC. Place4Us recommends that VCCs consider the VSM for their organization and governance, and Place4Us provides many tools for the governance. In any case, the governance of the VCCs relies on equality, transparency, inclusiveness, collaboration, and accountability to increase harmony, effectiveness, and productivity in each VCC and in clusters of VCCs. Decisions should whenever possible be based on consensus. VCCs are conceptualized as buildings with a number of floors providing space for, e.g., exhibition hall, classrooms, chat rooms, newsroom, Town hall, citizen science, meeting experts, workshops, governance, and community activities. Each VCC can select the floors that are needed for the community. VCCs can link to other VCCs or join clusters of VCCs at levels from local to global. VCCs can share resources including complete floors and also have joint membership. Place4Us includes many services to increase cross-scale and cross-topic collaboration, and to enable VCCs to tackle wicked problems with transdisciplinary approaches.