Designing Democratic Community Networks: Involving Communities through Civil Participation

Por Peter Day
Outlining issues of significance from investigations of a range of community ICT initiatives in the UK and Scandinavia, this paper presents a normative framework of democratic design criteria of relevance to community networks. Community networking or community informatics as it is increasingly called, provides the platform for a more participatory and democratic vision of the network society. However, before the opportunities presented by this vision can be embraced, the challenges of embedding such initiatives in community practice to stimulate community ownership and identity must first be addressed. Additionally, the enthusiasm of emergent community informatics practitioners should be informed by the experiences of early community ICT initiative pioneers. The issues presented in this paper provide salutary lessons for community networkers, researchers and policymakers alike.

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