(Sharing excerpts from our white paper on community, parenting and the transformative potentials of blockchain, and the consideration of emerging technologies to facilitate a new generation of commons-oriented neighborhood micro-communities creating a parenting future which we all dreamt together. This was written in proposal for https://gitcoin.co/blog/seeking-a-new-kind-of-public-good/)
“As we move into the future, we want to ensure that human needs remain a key input of the socio-technical systems we are creating.”
2020 has created major shifts in human history, it’s going to reshape society in lasting ways, from how we travel, to the level of security and surveillance we’re accustomed to, and even to the language we use, and how we choose to interact.
We also realized that meaningful child care assistance is extremely limited. Families need open-ended childcare and accessible resources that are an integrated part of their community. We need environments where our kids can flourish. When these resources are unavailable, parents default to the best options that they can find… and more often than not, these options fall short of what families need to thrive.Parents are struggling to balance work and parenting. Basic human needs — connection, security, community — are going unmet.
Play is essential for children. More and more research confirms the importance of play and why it should be an integral part of a child’s life. Why is play so important and what does it do for children? Humans are biologically wired to play. Play serves as a way for people to practice skills they will need in the future. According to The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds (2007), free play allows children to practice decision-making skills, learn to work in groups, share, resolve conflicts and advocate for themselves. It also allows them to discover what they enjoy at their own pace.
Our research pointed us to a direction where we studied that early human cultures who were able to accomplish this fantastical fine tuning might have been better able to interact with others and had more stable social systems, which may have given them an evolutionary advantage. Quoting Sarah Hrdy “ We began raising our young ones in large groups, co-operating with one another to shoulder the task of vulnerable infants into thriving adults. She draws from wide-ranging sources of evidences from the genetic to the endocrine to the archaeological, to argue that the origins of human sociality and our incredibly sophisticated theory of mind may be tied to the human practice of turning to multiple caregivers for support”. We observed the same facts in our live Nooks, we observed that collective intelligence, neighborhood cooperation, and trust each played a huge role in the success of each Nook. Each person who participated understood their interdependence with everyone else. We shared a mutual understanding.
The live Nooks, researches and innumerable conversations with parents/caregivers/educators and space collaborators led us to a few facts:
Social synergy arises when we work together on a common mission. Communities become more cohesive when we make visible the opportunities to connect, collaborate, and share resources.
The importance of having a micro-community or the network of support to collaborate through the phases of parenting.Having the support of a community unlocks numerous skills and resources to make our life easier as we navigate the hurdles of parenthood. That, in turn, relieves some of our stress and allows us to look at your duty with more optimism and a sense of connectedness with others that gives your effort even more purpose.
All the above pieces of information when we weaved together got us thinking about how the spaces Parents’ Nook have been collaborating with might be a public goods scenario.
As discussed, If we may think of Public goods as an economic engine identified by shared problems of a particular community? Then it becomes that the infra they choose to use for solving the problem becomes a public good—in our case may be the neighborhood spaces which we collaborated with through an on chain ecosystem? As mentioned in the gitcoin blog “ A public good can be identified and classified by shared problems, the extent to which they are aware of such problems, and the extent to which they do something about it.” And thus we submitted our proposal on how we dream Parents’ Nook may become a futuristic public good scenario, thus helping those spaces to become a networked hub that are a combination of co-working spaces, open ended play spaces for children. Through blockchain and DAO’s we are thinking it can be made a sustainable phenomenon.We think this is a utopian possibility but very well achievable in today’s date with web 3 technology.
Reimagining Nooks as public goods
We have always believed that as much as we are participating together in cyberspace, we are often physically and emotionally isolated in physical space, particularly as parents. Thus, these spaces provide the benefits of a community work environment, where parents can sit with like-minded adults engaging in work while kids play open-ended in a facilitated play space under the guidance of some of the best educators in the community who are oriented by our Play team.By providing this connection, the neighborhood community becomes self-sufficient with their co-working/socializing and self-care needs, thus taking parent-care to a whole new level.
These micro communities would enable each community to design the circles in their own way overarching with our common set of beliefs. This would generate local coordination, trust and employment in the local community.Through this model we are remixing historical Cooperative Organization models with decentralized Web3 needs.
We dream of a world where using DAO’s we may be facilitating collective participation of distributed participants in the funding and production of community goods. We have participated in a lot of conversations around this and I think we may be on a path to figure it out with our continuous effort both online and offline and thus trying to connect the two.
We tried working with Elinor Ostrom’s Economic Principles where her research showed that under certain conditions resources can be managed in a sustainable way by local communities of peers. Her work, therefore, enables us to reflect on the use of blockchain technologies to foster experimentation with new forms of blockchain-based governance/communities in ways that go beyond what is available in today’s date.
“Ostrom argued that common resources are well managed when those who benefit from them the most are in close proximity to that resource. For her, the tragedy occurred when external groups exerted their power (politically, economically or socially) to gain a personal advantage. She was greatly supportive of the “bottom up” approach to issues; government intervention could not be effective unless supported by individuals and communities.”
In Parents’ Nook we have been trying since the beginning to do Nooks in each neighborhood thus reimagining parent care and childcare as a system of networked “hubs” which are many times public spaces like museums/community centers and local spaces utilized by a micro community which shares a common vision of neighborhood co-working and open ended play. Nooks start in a neighborhood involving:
- parents and children from neighborhood
- space collaborators
- play facilitators who are early childhood experts from the community.
We also observed that all parties involved here believe in the common mission. Maybe the system is so broken for parents. They are mostly neighbors and parents. And over time deep trust is developed within themselves. Here in Nooks the community members are not passive users but maintain the spirit of Nooks through their collaborative processes. Thus their contributions play a huge part in making Nooks successful.Innumerable researches have shown the importance of having a micro-community or the network of support to collaborate through the phases of parenting.Having the support of a community unlocks numerous skills and resources to make our life easier as you navigate the hurdles of parenthood. That, in turn, relieves some of your stress and allows you to look at your duty with more optimism and a sense of connectedness with others that gives your effort even more purpose.
“Ostrom’s research showed that under certain conditions resources can be managed in a sustainable way by local communities of peers. Her work, therefore,enables us to reflect on the use of blockchain technologies to foster experimentation with new forms of blockchain-based governance in ways that go beyond markets and public Administration.”
“None of us is as smart as all of us”
Working with the vast majority of parents and early childhood educators, made us realize that there are so many people in the community who want a change. All these thoughts and interactions with group members made us realize there is this huge social capital associated with Nooks. The Nook has never been a one person effort, each Nook has been the effort and time put by many members of the community to make it safe and successful.
This made us think of co-op organizations and how Nooks are supporting ownership economy. We also realized it can be so much more in the block chain world in the form of DAO’s, it means that ownership — which may manifest in the form of novel economic rewards, platform governance, or new forms of social capital — can be a new keystone of user experiences. The ownership economy is a critical element of Parents’ Nook ecosystem ensuring that the Nook participants are also its owners and collaborators.
This would help us Create Nooks that are owned, run, and governed by parents, educators, space owners, play facilitators and anyone else interested in supporting the ecosystem so that they can potentially make collectively more responsible decisions thus addressing the needs of the parenting community at the grassroot level and enabling them.
“Clearly defined community boundaries: to define who has rights and privileges within the community, for example, to use certain resources or to perform certain actions on them.”
Through the realtime Nook experiments and innumerable amount of conversations with purpose-aligned parents and early childhood educators made us believe that we have been following a unique model redefining community involvement thus redefining co-op and collaboration at a micro level.
We have come to the conclusion that each Nooks with its unique environment have their own set of guidelines which are overarching the common set of guidelines defined by the governing members. It has also been observed that it supports the local economy thus making parent care and childcare self sustainable without the need to venture out to far off places thus supporting local ecosystems of early childhood experts and local spaces and may be even public goods.
Characteristics Of A DAO In Nook Ecosystem
- contributors who are aligned with the mission of the Nook, a governing body who decides on a common set of guidelines (later those guidelines can be made aligned with the unique need of each Nook).
- a small purpose-aligned community of parents, play facilitators and location owners and the local economy surrounding it thus reviving communities around parenting which is so important for a sustainable parenthood and childhood.
- All these together gives each Nook an user centric identity thus making it easier for people to participate and coordinate.
Quoting Ursula K. Le Guin here
“It was an old story that was no longer true …Truth can go out of stories you know.What was true becomes meaningless, becomes a lie, because the truth has gone into another story.The water of the spring rises in another place.”
As we continue working on the project Parents’ Nook and ponder with sustainable ways to make Nooks available to parents, we would like to thank the community without whom we would not have reached this stage. Thank you to everyone who opened their homes and businesses to Parents Nook, to those who have entrusted us with their children, and to the people who have ensured their safety.
Thanks to Scott Moore for reading draft of this and providing feedback. Thanks to Thena for their technical guidance.