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Have you ever wondered…

…why Hong Kong’s political leaders are so afraid of democracy?

Here’s one possibility. Following last week’s bridge collapse in Minnesota and this week’s bad weather in New York, media blogger Jeff Jarvis is encouraging news organizations in New York and New Jersey to collaborate with their readers and use new technologies to catalog “the failures of the infrastructure around them.”

“Put up a Google map (with Platial on top) and town and neighborhood wikis and ask them to pinpoint every failure of infrastructure — or feared failure — they see: streets that flood every time it rains, bridges that look just too damned rusty, potholes, pipes that burst, streets that don’t get plowed, streetlights that don’t work, signs that are missing. . . . Ask them for dates and other specifics and for pictures and video. Urge them to blog their stories of frustration and bureaucracy. Use your promotional power and influence to mobilize your public.

Then do what you do best: add journalism. Go verify what they say and tell the story of that street that closes every time it rains, of the people whose lives lose hours as a result, of the government bureaucrats who should be fixing it of the money spent on other things instead.”

Hong Kong’s infrastructure sins tend to be ones of commission, rather than omission. But can you imagine logging on to your favorite media site for a real-time count of the number of vehicles using the Western Harbour Tunnel or our new bridge to Shenzhen? How about the occupancy rates of Cyberport and the Science Park?

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