Designing networks for sustainable neighbourhoods: A case study of a student apartment complex

Foth, Marcus (2004) Designing networks for sustainable neighbourhoods: A case study of a student apartment complex. In Johanson, Graeme & Stillman, Larry (Eds.) Community Informatics Research Network 2004 Colloquium and Conference Proceedings, Centre for Community Networking Research, Prato, Italy, pp. 161-172.

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Sustainability has been identified as a key, yet controversial issue in community informatics and community networking research. This paper draws on an action research study in an urban apartment complex in Brisbane, Australia, which provokes a re-conceptualisation of the idea of sustainability. The methodology employed comprises participatory design and sociocultural animation. The site is characterised by a high turnover of residents and thus offers various opportunities to study the conditions and design implications that foster the growth of a sustainable neighbourhood community. The paper critiques current approaches to residential community development that are informed by community capacity building strategies. A theory of neighbourhood identity implicit in these strategies is set in contrast with the theory of networked individualism. Following an analysis of designing for collective community activity vs. networked community activity, the paper suggests implications for the design of a sustainable online community network. The discussion suggests that (a) certain means aimed at increasing social capital may support collectivity but may also lead to high barriers of entry and can thus be counterproductive to ensuring sustainability in a diverse residential community; and (b) there is a need to broaden the scope of residential community systems design to include peer-to-peer networking tools which allow for the fluid, diverse and swarming social behaviour of residents.

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ID Code: 1906
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: community informatics, community networks, social networks, social capital, urban neighbourhoods
ISBN: 0958105839
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Communication and Media Studies not elsewhere classified (200199)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Urban Sociology and Community Studies (160810)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > HUMAN GEOGRAPHY (160400) > Urban and Regional Studies (excl. Planning) (160404)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 31 Aug 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2012 00:02

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