ICTs and regional sustainability: A critique and a way forward

Hearn, Gregory N., Simpson, Lynette E., Lennie, June, & Kimber, Megan P. (2004) ICTs and regional sustainability: A critique and a way forward. In Johanson, Graeme & Stillman, Larry (Eds.) Community Informatics Research Network Conference and Colloquium 2004: Sustainability and community technology, September 29 - October 1 2004, Prato, Italy.


Claims have been made about the role of ICTs in regional sustainability for some time. However, ICT initiatives have often stalled for a number of reasons: • They are largely ICT supply-driven and fail to specify and address the local cultural impediments and opportunities. In particular, they mis-specify and under resource the human infrastructure required; • They do not take account of the dynamics of the global ICT industry; • They are overoptimistic about the productivity improvement ICTs can bring in traditional industries; and • They often overlook the importance of content per se.

Are there more realistic models of the role of ICTs in regional development? From the participatory action research we have conducted in two rural communities in Queensland, Australia, we suggest that more realistic and potentially effective models must: • Achieve clarity in specifying sustainability goals; • Leverage micro-business enterprise development off government funded technical and human infrastructure provision, and build on local industry strengths; • Learn from global experiences whilst building on local assets; • Find innovative business models to capitalise on new opportunities for content and applications; • Ensure community involvement in deciding, planning and evaluating projects; and • Adopt a learning approach through cycles of evaluation based on action research.

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ID Code: 9233
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: information and communication technology, regional, sustainability, development, rural, participatory action research
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > HUMAN GEOGRAPHY (160400) > Urban and Regional Studies (excl. Planning) (160404)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 (please consult author)
Copyright Statement: The contents of this conference can be freely accessed online via the publisher’s web page (see link).
Deposited On: 31 Aug 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2012 00:49

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