More Than Wires, Pipes and Ducts: Some Lessons from Grassroots Networked Communities and Master-Planned Neighbourhoods

  • Mark Gaved
  • Marcus Foth
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4277)


Community informatics research has found that the provision of technical connectivity in local neighbourhoods alone does not ensure community interaction. Externally initiated projects applied to communities by government or commercial bodies have encountered difficulties where the project’s goals do not correspond to the host community’s. Differing expectations can lead to disillusionment or rejection. Self-organised initiatives developed from within communities appear to be more aligned with residents’ goals and purposes and may not face these issues. However, such initiatives have also encountered difficulties in maintaining volunteer input and achieving technological sustainability. Valuable insights can be drawn from both cases. In this paper we review examples of each type of initiative and consider lessons that can be taken forward into new networked neighbourhood initiatives currently being developed. We consider one specific example, an inner-city master-planned residential development in Australia seeking to establish a community association to support socio-economic sustainability and governance of the local ICT infrastructure. We offer recommendations drawn from existing projects that may be applied to this site and to a wider context, and consider some implications for the future selection, deployment and maintenance of community information systems.


community informatics community information systems community networks grassroots communities networked communities master-planned communities urban neighbourhoods ICT 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Gaved
    • 1
  • Marcus Foth
    • 2
  1. 1.Knowledge Media InstituteThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Institute for Creative Industries and InnovationQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

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